Day 43: Confusing….

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They say misery loves company, but I don’t love anything about miserable duck hunters anywhere. Especially when I’m one of them. Duck season is nearing an end and it has been a big disappointment for many.

Some of the best blinds in the south are sitting empty right now because hunters are staying home – there just aren’t a lot of ducks, especially “fresh” ducks that haven’t been shot at and seen every blind in the area.

Things aren’t much better to our neighboring Arkansas hunters either. Here’s part of a report from  “360 Waterfowling”  there this week:

mallard“If there’s one word to describe the 2015−2016 waterfowl season in Arkansas (and elsewhere), it’s “confusing!” Since the season reopened in November, hunters have scratched their heads, scanned the skies and wondered when the ducks were coming, and where they might be. Many still have not gotten answers.

“I can understand their confusion,” says Luke Naylor, waterfowl program coordinator for the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC). “This has been a really strange hunting season. We experienced one of the warmest Decembers in recorded history. Also, water is as extensive as I’ve ever seen during my decade in this job. And it’s not just in our Mississippi River delta region, where we expect winter flooding. This year high water extends from Oklahoma up into Nebraska and Iowa and east of those states. The Mississippi and Ohio Rivers are well above flood stage with hundreds of thousands of acres underwater. There are just so many places where ducks might be.”

Naylor continues, “We just finished our Arkansas Midwinter Aerial Waterfowl Survey, and we counted the second lowest number of mallards we’ve had since the survey was started seven years ago (600,000−650,000 birds compared to an average of about 1 million). This indicates there are a lot of ducks that still haven’t migrated yet (because of the mild winter conditions to the north) or that our ducks are so scattered that we missed a lot during our aerial count. I suspect the low number is caused by a combination of both of those factors.”

Banded