Duck outlook updated

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Screen Shot 2018-11-07 at 4.59.09 PMDuck season is set to open in the West Zone of Louisiana this weekend, but the East Zone, which includes our area, doesn’t open until Nov. 17. There is a youth waterfowl hunt Saturday, Nov. 10, in the East Zone.  If you take part in it, make sure you are up on all the rules and regulations. Duck hunters usually look forward to a positive aerial report from the LDWF and waterfowl leader Larry Reynolds before the opening of the season. But weather this week has thwarted those flying duck counts.

This week crews only were able to cover basically close to the Texas/Louisiana line to Marsh Island. What they saw wasn’t what hunters are hoping for.

“The 247,000 total ducks estimated in Southwest Louisiana is the lowest on record for this survey, and is less than half the next lowest estimate of 581,000 in 2013,” Reynolds wrote in an email Wednesday afternoon. “The most recent 10-year average for Southwest Louisiana on this survey is 994,000. “The most recent 10-year November averages for Southwest Louisiana are: gadwalls (463,000), green-wings(145,000), blue-wings (175,000), pintails (51,000), and shovelers (83,000).”

This week’s survey estimated only 96,000 gadwall, 10,000 green-wings, 67,000 blue-wings, 5,000 pintails and 37,000 shovelers.

Reynolds continued: “This November’s Southwest Louisiana estimates for gadwalls and green-wings have never been lower. In the last 10 years, estimates for blue-wings and shovelers have only been lower once. These data indicate there has not yet been a major migration into coastal Southwest Louisiana.”

Southeast Louisiana’s transect lines and the cruise survey of Catahoula Lake have not been flown as of now, and predicted weather for tomorrow and Friday indicates those flights might not happen before opening day, he said. Ironically, it looks like we will have plenty of water, some really cold weather and great conditions for next week around here in our area. But will we have ducks? Hopefully we can get some more information on the north and northeast Louisiana areas before the East Zone opens. Stay tuned.