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Migration Alert: Oklahoma waterfowlers have reason for optimism

Dec. 4 – Central Flyway
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  • photo by Avery Outdoors
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By Jeff Kurrus

Despite a year of extreme drought and high temperatures, prospects remain generally positive for waterfowlers in many areas of Oklahoma.

"We have birds scattered all over right now," says Josh Richardson, Oklahoma migratory game bird biologist. "Oklahoma is a major wintering area for Canada geese, and we have had a lot of them since the Thanksgiving holiday."

Along with the geese are dabbling ducks such as pintails, wigeon, and mallards, the latter of which should increase in number as the forecast calls for cooler weather pushing into Sooner country this week. The cooler weather may also bring precipitation, which is desperately needed across much of Oklahoma, but especially in the west. Central and eastern counties are in better shape, with Fort Gibson, Wister, and Hudson lakes having higher water levels than reservoirs farther west.

But one doesn't have to be in eastern Oklahoma to find waterfowl. Hunters just need to find food and water to find good hunting.

"Because we have some water everywhere, a lot of hunters should get into birds," Richardson says.
He advises hunters to scout extensively to locate water and concentrations of waterfowl. With the hunting season re-opening this weekend, ducks and geese should be fairly susceptible to calling and decoys before wising up again in response to hunting pressure.

"Just don't get too comfortable in one spot," Richardson adds. "Hunt an area until birds aren't there and then start looking for other places."
One place that should be especially productive for waterfowlers is Kaw Lake in the north-central part of the state.
"We had a substantial millet planting program there in the spring that has done very well," Richardson explains. "It's going to be good this weekend despite pretty tough boating conditions." He recommends using an airboat or walking in to access these shallow feeding areas.

Find hunting and migration reports in your area on the Ducks Unlimited Migration Map.

Jeff Kurrus is a writer/photographer currently working for Nebraskaland Magazine.

Find hunting and migration reports in your area on the Ducks Unlimited Migration Map.

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