After what was by all indications a banner year for waterfowl production in the state, the outlook for North Dakota's duck season is quite good, but extensive scouting will be imperative for success.
"We have water everywhere," reports Roger Hollevoet, wildlife refuge manager for the Devils Lake Wetland Management District, which encompasses eight counties in northeastern North Dakota
. "That means we have a lot of birds. But it's going to take some extra time scouting
to keep on top of bird locations, especially after opening day."
With numerous roads flooded across the state, freelancers will need detailed county road maps, a PLOTS (Private Lands Open to Sportsmen) guide, and a little luck and patience to find their way around. "But if you spend the time, hunters will find a lot of mallards, pintails, wigeon, and teal throughout this region," Hollevoet says.
Avery pro-staffer Joe Fladeland says one way to locate concentrations of ducks is to find harvested grain fields where the birds are feeding. "I target fields near the bigger water," he says. "I've already found fields that have between 1,500 and 2,000 mallards and pintails working them."
For concealment, Fladeland and his hunting partners camouflage ground blinds
with crop stubble gathered from the surrounding field. Huge decoy spreads
aren't required. "Early in the season, a few dozen full-body duck decoys will work fine. If you have birds located, then you'll do well."