The lull continues on ducks in the northern portion of the flyway with goose hunting still providing waterfowlers with consistent action. Duck activity has curtailed in southern Oregon and Northern California with Utah hunters begging for a touch of winter up north. If there is a bright spot in the flyway southern California gets the star as pressured northern birds continue moving in with gadwall, greenwing teal and wigeon being the primary arrivals. Southern California hunters are reminded these are educated wary birds so hunt accordingly. Snow goose numbers remain steady in the south with few reports of any notable influx of new geese.
Duck numbers remain steady on the prairie and the hopeful cold front came and went with more hope from hunters than pressure to move fowl south. Sure, there was a big drop in temperature but everything is relative to scale and this scale started near 70 degrees. Snow goose numbers are up in South Dakota with Sand Lake and surrounding areas holding upwards of 500,000 birds. Snow in eastern Colorado and Western Nebraska managed to keep birds that were resting safely in the area moving — providing intermittent flurries of success. Opening day success has curtailed in Oklahoma and Texas and throughout most of the flyway goose hunting, both dark and light, is providing the most consistent shooting.
The clock is ticking down for Minnesota and Wisconsin hunters and prayers for an arctic blast can be heard throughout the northern portion of the flyway. As the recent cold front passed activity has increased but not to the degree one would hope. Thankfully, ice is squeezing birds out of shallow hiding spots and larger water and rivers are providing consistent shooting on a number of species. Cooler temperatures in the central portion of the flyway managed to get the resting migrants motivated to move. Increased success was based more on birds holding in the area than on that of the few new arrivals in Illinois and Missouri. Opening day success has tapered off in Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee. Best bets in the flyway are Canada geese from Chicago north and Northern Indiana for a hotbed of mallard activity.
Eiders, Scoters and long-tails numbers are up on the coast of Maine. Inland hunting activity has increased over the previous week with black duck numbers increasing in the northern portion of the flyway. Hunter success on mallards and black ducks are reported good to fair in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Brandt numbers are slowly increasing along the Jersey shore with most Brandt to the north and the best harvest opportunities on a falling tide. Canada goose hunting remains consistent throughout Pennsylvania with snow goose numbers fair in Delaware. To the south the first push of birds has either been shot, handed diplomas on decoy avoidance or are hiding in secretive non-pressured spots in the Carolinas.