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2011 Waterfowl Forecast

Duck populations soared to record highs this spring 
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Atlantic Flyway

The majority of Atlantic Flyway waterfowl are raised in the eastern United States and Canada, with the exception of certain species such as canvasbacks and redheads, which are largely produced on the prairies. In the eastern survey area (eastern Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, Maine, and northern New York), populations of most duck species—including mallards, green-winged teal, and ring-necked ducks—were statistically similar to last year's estimates and their long-term averages. Black duck numbers, however, were 13 percent below the long-term average in this region. 

DU Canada biologist Adam Campbell reports that cold, wet weather persisted in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island well into the summer, which may have had an adverse effect on early-breeding waterfowl. "Overall, habitat conditions are good in Atlantic Canada, but geese and early-breeding ducks were challenged by cold and rainy conditions," Campbell says. "Brood sizes initially appeared to be smaller than average. This may have been due to relentless rain and cold temperatures in June. While this may not have been a great recruitment year for early nesters, warmer summer temperatures likely benefited ducks that initiated breeding late." 

The outlook for Atlantic Flyway goose populations is generally positive. Average production was reported among Atlantic Population Canada geese and brant, and fall populations of these birds should be similar to last year's. Good production was reported among greater snow geese, which should have an above-average fall flight.  
Liberal Regulations Remain in Place With excellent wetland conditions on the prairies and healthy mallard populations in each survey region, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has once again recommended liberal hunting regulations for the upcoming waterfowl season. Check with the appropriate state or provincial wildlife agency for season dates, daily bag limits, shooting times, and other regulations where you plan to hunt.
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