Neighboring states share duck woes

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Lots of water, not many ducks (MWFP photo)
Lots of water, not many ducks (MWFP photo)

Louisiana duck hunters are not alone in not seeing ducks. Neighboring states have reported the same types of issues.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists conducted an aerial waterfowl survey over the past two weeks and found that the Delta mallard population estimate is about half of the 2014 November estimate. The number of mallards is below the 2009-20-15 long-term November average.

Observers estimated 889,191 ducks in the Delta and only 27,379 ducks in the Arkansas River Valley. There were also lower numbers of geese.

Last November, unusually cold conditions brought lots of mallards to the state despite dry conditions. The heavy rains this fall have caused widespread flooding and provided extensive habitat, but unseasonably warm temperatures have affected the migration so far.

In Mississippi, Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks biologists report waterfowl habitat availability is high, however a large number of harvested agricultural fields have been disked due to an early dry fall, resulting in less available food for waterfowl.

Overall, duck estimates were considerably lower than recent years’ November estimates. In fact, numbers in the most recent aerial survey indicated less than 40% the birds as seen last year. Ducks were not widespread, but seemed to be concentrated in certain areas, with the northeast region of the Mississippi Delta holding the most waterfowl.

Stay tuned. We will be bringing you daily reports from Louisiana’s East Zone when it reopens as well as other duck hunting news.

It’s a good time to spend a few minutes sprucing up your blind and getting ready for the second split. Just make sure you take some mosquito spray. You don’t need a wildlife biologists to tell you that there are more mosquitoes than ducks!