Early goose hunting is underway in the great state of South Dakota and blue winged teal have begun to move in portions of the upper Mississippi Flyway are early indications report that birds are clinging to the major rivers systems due to persistent drought conditions. Reports from the Climate Prediction Center (link below) show little improvement is expected for most of the nation during the next 90-days for all areas except portions of the Great Lakes region.
Hello folks, and, as always, welcome to Waterfowler.com.
The teal migration has begun and our staff is monitoring the progression with great interest, as the path of these birds will likely provide a good indicator where fall flights will follows if conditions do not improve.
In all likelihood, waterfowl will be concentrated along the major river corridors and the largest water impoundments. With record numbers of waterfowl migrating down the flyways and water scarce, it is safe to assume that:
1) Waterfowl will be concentrated in good habitat in record setting numbers
2) The forage in these areas will be depleted quickly.
While water may be limited the good news is these birds will have to eat and dry feeding in fields near large roosts will not only be commonplace but essential for migrating waterfowl.
For the waterfowl hunter that normally spends their season in waders and boat or blind, the prospect of spending the season in a comfortable pair of bibs while snuggled in a layout blind could be worse. While some gear will make the transition to the field, hunters will need to adapt their gear and tactics to capitalize on field hunting opportunities in their area.
Waterfowler.com is very cautious when making seasonal predictions but at this point we don’t think we’d have to climb that far out on the limb to say that “more ducks will be shot over dry land this year than during an average year.”
While the your season may be a few months away, scouting during the early teal migration will provide the savvy hunter with a wealth of information on were the majority of puddle ducks will be in the coming months. As such, you can begin to network for land access in nearby fields, long before they are harvested and other hunters are competing for access after the season opens.
While many hunters are dreading the coming season as a result of the drought, our staff and a handful of die-hard dry land hunters are giddy with the prospect of shooting ducks over a field throughout the season. If you haven’t spent the day on your back in a field with fluttering and whistling wings overhead, you just have no idea what you are missing. To quote a frequent adage, “The only thing that would make it more exciting is if they burst into flames n the way down.”
In the coming weeks, Waterfowler.com will provide common tips and tactics for freshman field hunters to help increase their success. Without a doubt, it will be an odd season indeed, but we truly believe that for hunters willing to adapt and hunt where these record number of birds stop, if could be one of the most memorable seasons of their hunting career.
In closing we share a photo from a fellow member, Swamp Gas, who’s family opened the early goose season with nine birds on the first volley – all of which were banded! Now that is the way to kick off a season. Congratulations.
Until our next report, begin scouting for field opportunity now and good luck on the early goose opener if it opens in your state this weekend.