By Dale D. Humburg
During Ducks Unlimited's first 75 years
, waterfowl populations closely tracked the abundance of wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region
, soaring during wet years and plummeting during times of drought. Participation in waterfowl hunting
has also fluctuated widely throughout DU's history in response to the abundance of ducks and opportunities to hunt them.
Looking ahead, DU begins its next 75 years with more than 750,000 members in the United States and Canada, nearly 13 million acres conserved across North America, and duck breeding populations
at the highest levels in more than 50 years. Decades from now, the health of waterfowl populations and their habitats will likely depend on how many DU members and other waterfowl conservation supporters we can recruit and retain. As wetlands and other wildlife habitats
come under increasing threat, sustaining a broad base of conservation support will be essential to ensuring a bright future for waterfowl.