By David Rearick
Following a major blizzard over the weekend in parts of the upper Midwest, waterfowlers in the Atlantic Flyway are hoping new flights of waterfowl are on the way. Kevin Jacobs, a waterfowl biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, reports that duck and goose numbers are below average for this time of year on the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area near Linesville. “There aren’t a lot of new ducks in the area, and most of the geese we have now are resident birds.” He also noted that water levels are low, and that the area could use a dose of rain to help recharge wetland habitats.
The outlook for waterfowlers brightens as you move north and east. In eastern Pennsylvania and New York, large numbers of Atlantic Population Canada Geese, many of which arrived before the warm up, are providing good hunting opportunities in areas where the season is open. Avery pro-staffer Mike Bard has been hunting the Finger Lakes region of New York and has recently seen an influx of divers, mainly scaup. On a recent hunt his hunting group bagged bluebills, goldeneyes, redheads, and buffleheads from layout boats, but he says the diver migration is far from its peak. This seems to be consistent with reports from Lake Erie, where waterfowl numbers are also slowly building.
The weather in much of the flyway has been unseasonably mild with temperatures in Pennsylvania reaching the mid 60s last week with clear sunny skies. The warm conditions and lack of wind have slowed the migration
out of Canada. But waterfowl seasons are far from over in many northeastern states, and waterfowlers have high hopes that the onset of more seasonable weather will improve hunting
opportunities in the region.