Jessup Flat 10-10-2006 23:33
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The Jessup Flat area is still at flood stage and water levels are still a little deeper than the should be to attract large numbers of ducks. The count on this area last month were lower than expected, considering the large water area and good food productions this summer. High water levels are dropping fairly fast because of the uncontrolled outflow to the Carson Sink and reduced flows coming from the Humboldt WMA. There is less hunting cover this year than in the past and access is still very difficult because of the high water levels. If you hunt this area, you need to be careful because of the high percentage of redheads using the area.
The following is the September count figures for Jessup: The next flight is scheduled for Oct. 19th.
Total Ducks 3,390
Canada G. 90
Total Geese 90
Total Birds 7,660
Stillwater NWR 10-10-2006 23:30
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The wetland conditions on the Stillwater NWR are some of the best that I have observed in over 10 years. With high water condition in the Fallon area this spring and summer, most of the hunting units were at aor near capacity and food production was excellent. The Refuge personnel have done an excellent job of managing the water and the area and hunting conditions should be great this fall. Even the North Nutgrass unit is full and produced a bumper crop of waterfowl food plants, unfortunately the water came to late to produce very much hunting cover. Looks like this might be a good “Pumpkinseed” boat area. Most other units will be very good with most have good hunting cover Duck production on this area was very good and lots of young ducks were produced.
The following is the September aerial population data. I will fly the area again just after the season opens.
Ruddy Duck 670
Total Ducks 97,070
Canada G. 1,055
Snow G. –
Total Geese 1,055
Total Birds 144,166
Humboldt- Toulon 10-10-2006 22:13
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During the mid-September aerial waterfowl survey, the Humboldt WMA was still at flood stage, but water levels had dropped about two plus feet. The two Humboldt lakes covered about 15,000 acres and produced a tremendous crop of waterfowl food plants this year. The area should hold large numbers fo birds this fall. The only problem is that there will be very little hunting cover on these two areas. Notice the number of widgeon on this survey, this was one species that was down in the production surveys earlier this summer.
The Toulon Unit was about 30% dry last month and is expected to drop to 50% by the end of October. I expect that the southern half will be completely dry by the end of the month.
The following is the September bird count for the area:
Total Ducks 20,100
Canada G. 540
Total Geese 540
Total Birds 114,900
Canada 10-10-2006 22:05
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – 60-65 Degrees
I just returned for two weeks of goose and crane hunting in Canada. It was a great trip and I saw more ducks and water in the country I hunted than in any year in the last eleven I have been going up there. There were large numbers of ducks on almost every pothole and almost all wetland basins were near full. It looks like the parts of Canada that I hunted must have had a phenomenal duck production year. If the moisture keeps on coming, Canada should have a wonderful production year in 2007. We saw huge flocks of mallards all over the area and it looked like gadwalls were trying to take over the world. They were literally everywhere. As always, the Canadian people we met were superb and always overly friendly and willing to help. In two weeks we had almost no problems finding places to hunt. One hunter even offered to stop chasing the ducks and gees of his swathed grain so we could hunt the field.
When we got there, the snow and white-fronted geese were just starting to come in and we almost got there too early this year. By the time we left there were several hundred thousand birds in the area and more coming in every day. I would expect that the snow goose numbers will be peaking in the next few weeks. Based upon what we saw, they had a very good production year and there were good numbers of young in the flocks.
One concern that has arisen in Alberta. This year they dropped the number of days that Americans could purchase a waterfowl hunting license for to only 6 days. I don’t know if the outfitters are behind this or what the rational is for this restriction. For those how enjoy hunting in Canada, it might be worth writing to the Minister of the Environment to express your concern. Hopefully Saskatchewan won’t follow suit with the reduce number of hunting days.
It was so much fun, that I could have turned around and driven the 25-hour trip again the next day in order to be able to hunt for another week or two. Guess I’ll just have to wait until next September.
Humboldt River/Pitt Taylor Reservoir 09-14-2006 23:02
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – Over 70 Degrees
In last week, scouted areas along the Humboldt River and Upper and Lower Pitt Taylor Reservoirs adjacent to Rye Patch. The local duck production was impressive, as seeing hundreds of ducks in areas that should have relatively few this time of year. Lower Pitt Taylor is too deep to support much duck food, and so no birds there. However, Upper Pitt Taylor is a thousand acres of sago, and is full of ducks and geese. However, it is very shallow, as the farmers have been draining it, and I doubt much, if any, water will be left by opening. Second problem is lack of cover. It is a huge, shallow lake with nowhere to hide. Nonetheless, the numbers of birds for early September is confirming that early season hunting should be good.
Jack on the rocks
reno /.stillwater./humbolt ./carson/tuolon 09-03-2006 04:26
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hey guys wantyed to see if mr. sakke had a swan count for the areas above and if the pintails are moving early up there yet i`ve already been up to steptoe and things look good around the elty area as far as habitat goes ,the fields in and around lund nevada are looking good for the passing geese to feed on and sunnysides local ducks are about the same as last year at this time .looks dismal towards the south of there but a few local geese have been breeding near alamo and look pretty stupid .duck numbers around hiko and railroad valley are slim but it is still good to see a few locals hanging around and making are marshes usefull .
any of you guys have seen any swans that would be nice of you top know where they are
so i can get a shot at one
Eastern Humboldt County 07-28-2006 14:31
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – Over 70 Degrees
To Deaux Spoonie:
At least in unit 051, I have not been impressed with the chukar numbers this year. I drew the same antelope tag as last year (being an archer has its advantages), and so I am scouting the same areas. Last year, I was finding multiple broods on every water hole and spring, and the brood sizes were very large, usually over 10 chicks per hen. This year, I have rarely seen more than one brood per water source, and have yet to see a hen with more than six chicks. I have always wondered if the Mormon Cricket explosion over the past few years had anything to do with the chukar explosion, since all of that protein out there must help with chick survival. This year, the April rains killed most of the crickets in Humboldt County. I still see them, but much more scattered and isolated.
On the bright side, friends of mine that work the Midas mine in Elko County say that cricket and chukar populations both remain strong there. Again, just a coincidence? It remains to be seen what the fires burning there right now will do to the birds.
As long as the king of all birds – the duck, or course – does well, I can live with any chukar population problems. That comment could get me shot in Winnemucca.
New Swan season Proposal 07-25-2006 00:35
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The Nevada Department of Wildlife is proposing a couple of changes to Nevada’s swan hunting season. One would change the swan tag to a swan permit, which would allow hunters to hunt swans with a short term license and reduce the cost of the permit significantly. It would also eliminate the predator fee requirement
The other proposal, if allowed by the Fish and Wildlife Service, would allow for a swan hunter to get a second tag after he successfully harvested a swan and had the bird validated.
Currently Nevada is only issuing about 50% of the 650 tags allowed by the FWS, and there is some concern that if we continue to issue far fewer tags than allocated that we could have that allocation reduced. Swan numbers in Nevada have remained stable and the continental population is well above the objective levels set by the FWS.
Both these proposals have been pushed for by the Nevada Waterfowl Association and several individuals for the past few years. The Board of Wildlife Commissions will act on these proposal at their August 4th and 5th meeting in Winnemucca.
Western Nevada 07-25-2006 00:22
Sunny & Clear, Winds Calm – Over 70 Degrees
Last week I conducted a two-day aerial survey for the Fish and Wildlife Service of the major wetlands in western Nevada. Water conditions on most wetlands are in great shape and there is an abundance of feed being produced. With at least two more months of good growing season, there should be plenty of food produced for migrating waterfowl. While conditions look good right now, these high temperatures will certainly result in some loss of habitat in the next few weeks. There are already a few migrating flocks of early pintails, green-winged teal, and a few canvasbacks starting to show up. In addition Canada geese are coming off of the moulting areas and are showing up everywhere in good numbers. While this survey was done to document pelican locations and numbers, I did observe more ducks than on the survey flown last month. Next month I will begin doing monthly waterfowl surveys for the Fish and Wildlife Service on the Stillwater NWR, Ruby Lake NWR, Franklin Lake WMA, Humboldt WMA, Jessup Flat, Canvasback Club and Carson Lake. Below are some of the conditions that I observed while on this survey.
Humboldt WMA (Toulon)
Flood waters on this area are finally beginning to decline and water levels have dropped about 12 to 18 inches from last month. Some of the roads are impassable and a levee between Toulon and the Upper Humboldt Lake was breached. Water coverage is estimated to be about 130 to 140% of normal full operating level. Food production is excellent in the form of submergent vegetation (mostly sago pondweed), but there was little hunting cover grown this year because of high water conditions. There appears to be enough feed produced here this year that it could feed every duck that comes through Nevada this fall. Toulon has plenty of water and feed but hunting conditions right now look to be a little tough. Because of the flooding that took place here, I would expect that duck production was poor.
Right now almost every unit on this area is full and food production is the best I have observed in over a decade. Every unit appears to be wall to wall feed and projected hunting conditions appear to be great. Reports are that duck production on this area this year has been very good. One of the benefits of the West Nile Disease is that it has hit the raven population pretty hard and it appears that more nest were successful. For those of you who hunt this area this year you ought to give Bill Henry and Mike Goddard a call (775-423-5128) and thank them for a job well done. They deserve a pat on the back for this one.
Water levels are up and feed conditions area look very good from the air. While this area is hard to hunt it should have lots of birds this fall.
Water coverage is well above average for this time of the year and food production again looks very good. The crew down here has worked hard to make the area look good. I would expect that this area produced a bumper crop of young ducks this summer and some duck nests should still in the process of hatching for a few more weeks.
Water levels are good, but declining from where they were a month ago. Food production here appears to be just “so-so”, which is normal for this area except under very unusual conditions. Less that half of the wetlands on the NDOT mitigation wetlands on the south end of the lake have water in them right now. I’m not sure why these area are dry in a year like this when these were constructed to mitigate wetland losses in other areas and should remain full year round.
Rye Patch Reservoir
The reservoir and both Pitt-Taylor reservoir are still full. While there is much feed in the main reservoir, there is considerable feed in the Upper Pit-Taylor Reservoir and birds are already taking advantage. While I have never hunted this area, I know that in years like this, that it hold some pretty impressive numbers of both ducks and geese.
Water coverage has dropped significantly as a result of high temperatures and reduced water receipts. Right now about 70 to 75% of the area is estimated to be dry or almost so, but deliveries of water should begin in the next week or so to maintain what is left. Because of the dry that took place in the last month, there was considerable loss of feed in some units. Food production in the Big Water Units still looks very good and water coverage here is about 80%. By hunting season most units should be filled back up and conditions should be okay this year. Good water levels and feed conditions in all units earlier this summer resulted very good duck and goose production. The reduced numbers of ravens due to West Nile Disease was also a contributing factor to the high production this year. Hopefully those broods that haven’t reached flight stage this month as several of the units began to dry were able to move to the Big Water unit and survive.
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Hey NV Chuck:
Congrats on the goat tag, how did the chuckar hatch look. DFG is giving us three day possesion limits so they must think there’s a bunch.
I think the duck hatch will be epic, not only good water in the west, but Canada is all in. The counts reflect a good hatch in all survey areas, however its the areas like the Little humboldt, ect that are uncounted and will produce the real surplus.