Duck breeding grounds report given

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Early predictions for the upcoming duck season are good, but not great, according to reports given to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at its latest meeting. Reports on breeding ground conditions were given to the group by experts from both Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl.

Dave Kostersky, with Ducks Unlimited Canada, and John Davis, with Delta Waterfowl Canada, made the reports, with emphasis on how they affect Louisiana’s duck season.

The main areas discussed were Saskatchewan and Manitoba, two very different areas, but both critical to producing waterfowl habitat in North America. Saskatchewan is in the Prairie Pothole Region and Manitoba contains a mixture of the pothole region, a forested area known for its thousands of lakes and a subarctic region. That subarctic region is known for nesting for Canada and snow geese.

“One of the things people think about is the wetlands when they think about ducks,” Kostersky explained. “But half of our species of ducks nest in grasslands. Without a healthy cattle industry across this continent we don’t have grass. We need a demand for grass to make grasslands work.”

The Canadian prairie region precipitation has been “average to slightly below average,” Kostersky said. “Eastern Saskatchewan is in pretty good shape, central part recently got a lot of rainfall and Southern Alberta is dry. It’s certainly not drought conditions, but it is also not a wet condition across the continent.”

“This is how the prairie works,” Davis said, nothing some grasslands were wet, but others dry this year. “Rarely is it all wet or all dry. On a typical year it is wet somewhere and dry somewhere and collectively there is a group of ducks that come south.”

Davis called overall Manitoba prairie conditions “mediocre,” while saying the 90-day rain forecast was “not bad.”

“What we know about the number of ducks produced is that it can change overnight,” the Delta Waterfowl representative said. “We’re probably just little north of good on duck production this early in the process.”

Delta Waterfowl Foundation is a non-profit organization operating in both Canada and in the United States. The group’s mission is to secure the future of waterfowl and waterfowl hunting. Charity Navigator ranked the organization among the top 10 conservation groups promoting the protection of wildlife and game lands for hunters and fishermen. DU is an American organization dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, other wildlife, and people.