Migration Alert: Cold Weather and Hot Shooting in the Tar Heel State

Nov. 16, 2017 – Atlantic Flyway – North Carolina

By Michael R. Shea, Atlantic Flyway Migration Editor

Cold weather made for hot shooting on North Carolina’s regular waterfowl season opener last weekend, and with temperatures expected to drop during the next few days, the hunting is only expected to get better.

According to Capt. Froggy Thornton, of Capt. Froggy’s Hunting & Fishing Guide Service, the season is off to a good start on Pamilico Sound, although the action has slowed down the past few days. He reports that Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge is holding large numbers of ducks, primarily northern pintails, gadwalls, and green-winged teal, as well as greater snow geese.  

“With a cold front coming this weekend, we’re expecting a lot more birds to arrive from the north,” Thornton says. “Monday and Tuesday should be especially good.”

Farther inland in the piedmont region, Garrett Wishon, a pro-staffer with Drake Waterfowl and creator of Fowl Play Game Calls, reports that wood ducks and teal are plentiful in his area, along with a few early arriving mallards and black ducks.

“With low temperatures in the 30s and midday highs in the 50s next week, we’re going to see a lot more birds,” Wishon says.

Meteorologists are calling for a Thanksgiving cold snap that could help waterfowlers up and down the Atlantic Flyway.  “If the jet steam drops down like they’re predicting, we could see some really good bird numbers,” Wishon adds.

So wherever you are in the Tar Heel State, dust off the decoys and get after them. The next week to 10 days could be very good for waterfowling.

Michael R. Shea is a New York–based freelance writer, who hunts waterfowl throughout the Atlantic Flyway. Shea will be providing habitat and hunting reports