Here’s the latest report on ducks in Arkansas from the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission today. They have more ducks that Louisiana, but numbers are way down. They, too, are hoping that this weekend will bring a push of ducks there from Missouri and further north. Louisiana hunters are hoping that some of their ducks come here from Arkansas!
Habitat Conditions Falling Into Place for Strong Finish to Season
LITTLE ROCK – With a deep freeze headed toward Arkansas, snow expected to be covering southeast Missouri, and with the recent rainfall that has filled the public hunting areas in state, habitat conditions for duck hunters should this weekend be the best they’ve been all year long.
Friday and Saturday morning, waterfowl hunters may find themselves breaking ice to open a hole with temperatures expected to drop into the teens overnight both Thursday and Friday nights. There will be a light warming on Saturday through the day, and sunny to partly cloudy conditions are expected.
“You couldn’t ask for better conditions over the last 12 days of the season,” Trey Reid, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission assistant chief in the Communications Division and host of “Arkansas Wildlife TV,” said Wednesday.
Anecdotallly, reports have varied from outstanding duck hunting for some waterfowlers, to others noting their duck hunting and duck sighting as being way off from recent years. It may depend simply on where you’re hunting now.
The January Midwinter aerial survey conducted by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission waterfowl biologists two weeks ago indicated a big jump in mallards over the December count (from about 326,064 mallards in the Delta to more than 617,000 estimated in early January). The greatest concentration of mallards in Arkansas were estimated the in the Delta in the Bayou Meto and Lower St. Francis survey zones. In fact, over half of all mallards in the Delta were in these two survey zones. Duck and mallard density maps (available on agfc.com) show this distribution pattern, with duck hotspots generally mirroring mallard hotspots.
More anecdotal reports noted successful hunting in George H. Dunklin Jr. Bayou Meto WMA, thanks to recent rainfall lifting the water levels throughout the area to optimal duck hunting conditions. Northeast Arkansas and eastern Arkansas have seen a good number of ducks, according to some private land hunters. Duck numbers are picking up some in the Arkansas River Valley and around Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA with it being nearly or completed covered in ample water. The aerial survey two weeks ago showed mallards were somewhat evenly distributed among four survey zones in the Arkansas River Valley: East Dardanelle Reservoir, Holla Bend, Petit Jean and Point Remove Plumerville.
Total duck numbers in state nearly doubled from early December to early January’s aerial survey count. Also, gadwall were the most abundant non-mallard dabbling ducks in the Arkansas River Valley. American green-winged teal, northern shovelers, northern pintails and gadwall, roughly in that order, were the most common non-mallard ducks in the Delta. Northern shovelers and gadwall were the most common non-mallard ducks in southwest Arkansas.