BISMARCK, N.D. — North America’s spring duck population is at a record level, and the birds returned to find a high number of ponds on the breeding grounds, according to the 2014 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey released today.
The annual spring survey, which has been conducted jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service since 1955, puts the breeding duck population at 49.2 million, surpassing the previous high set in 2012 and 8 percent ahead of the 2013 estimate. Continue reading
BISMARCK, N.D. – Feb. 15, 2014 – Ducks Unlimited applauds USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) increasing its efforts to work with landowners in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) to conserve grasslands and wetlands. Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie announced today that NRCS is committing up to $35 million over the next three years for prairie conservation in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.
“We are pleased to see NRCS renewing its commitment to grassland and wetland conservation in the PPR, which is so critical to waterfowl production,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “We’re seeing unprecedented pressures to convert native prairie and drain wetlands. We need to look for new ways to make conservation programs more economically competitive and attractive to landowners.” Continue reading
The price of the federal duck stamp has been raised only seven times in the program’s history.
WASHINGTON – Dec. 19, 2013 – A bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate today to increase the price of the federal duck stampto $25. The current price of $15 was set more than 20 years ago, in 1991.
“We appreciate the introduction of a federal duck stamp increase bill by Senators Begich, Baucus, Coons and Tester to meet very real on-the-ground wetland habitat conservation needs. We are committed to seeing this legislation signed into law and look forward to working with Senators on both sides of the aisle to enact this,” said DU CEO Dale Hall.
Since its enactment in 1934, the federal duck stamp program has protected more than 6 million acres of wetlands – an area the size of Vermont – through expenditures of more than $750 million. This has contributed to the conservation of more than 2.5 million acres in the Prairie Pothole Region, including the protection of 7,000 waterfowl production areas totaling 675,000 acres. Continue reading
NEWTOWN, Conn. — The future of hunting is brighter today than it was nearly a decade ago thanks to the extraordinary success of Families Afield, an innovative program that has introduced 1 million newcomers to hunting.
This impressive number demonstrates that interest in hunting remains high and that what’s needed to spark a lifelong passion for hunting is a proper introduction enabled by state regulations. With success in hand, Families Afield’s call to action is this: If your state offers an apprentice hunting license, make it a point to bring a newcomer along this hunting season; or if you’ve never gone hunting before, seek out a mentor and give it a try. Continue reading
More small game hunters go afield in 2012; pheasant, duck harvests up.
More small game hunters ventured into Minnesota’s fields and forests in 2012, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) annual small game survey.
The number of pheasant and duck hunters increased 8 percent and corresponded with a slight increase in pheasant and duck stamps sales. In 2012, an estimated 84,000 people hunted pheasants and 90,400 hunted ducks.
Although ruffed grouse are on the downward side of their 10-year population cycle, the number of grouse hunters increased 6 percent in 2012 to 97,200.
Statewide estimates show that hunters harvested 264,000 pheasants, 835,000 ducks and 355,000 ruffed grouse.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing continued liberal hunting season lengths and bag limits for the upcoming 2013-14 late waterfowl seasons. The annual results of cooperative population surveys, banding programs and harvest surveys guide the Service’s waterfowl conservation programs under authority of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. All of this information represents the largest data set on any wildlife species group in the world, and helps provide hunting opportunities while ensuring the long-term health of waterfowl populations. States select their individual seasons from within the federal frameworks that establish the earliest beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits.
The Service’s 2013 Waterfowl Population Status Report summarizes information on the status of duck and goose populations and habitat conditions during spring of 2013. Overall, population estimates for most species of ducks remained strong for this breeding season. In the traditional survey area, which includes the north-central United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska, the 2013 total duck population estimate was 45.6 million birds, a decrease of six percent from last year’s estimate of 48.6 million, but still 33 percent above the long-term average (1955-2012). Continue reading