By Jeff Kurrus
Andrew Raedeke, waterfowl biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, was straightforward in his assessment of current duck numbers in the Show-Me State. "If you're a duck hunter, you need to be hunting in Missouri this week."
Colder temperatures and wintry precipitation to the north have pushed large numbers of mallards into north, central, and western parts of the state, including Truman Reservoir and the Four Rivers area. According to Raedeke, more than 800,000 ducks were surveyed on public waterfowl areas during the last aerial survey on November 23, with a few public areas still left to post. "Numbers from last week until now have not changed dramatically," Raedeke says. "While we've probably lost some of our green-winged teal and pintails, we've definitely gained mallards."
"Of the ducks we're shooting, about 70 percent are mallards," confirms Avery pro-staffer Jason Zerrer, who's based in Columbia. "We're shooting most of our ducks in flooded milo and corn fields on WRP lands using a lot of motion with our spreads, specifically splashing-water decoys."
Zerrer also adds that while northern Missouri's big push started about a week and a half ago and continued through Thanksgiving, he expects great hunting for several weeks. "Ducks aren't going anywhere right now," he says. "I could hunt down toward Truman, but I don't have to. There are plenty of ducks here to hunt, and they'll be here until freeze up. But we're a long way from that."
From the DU Migration Map...
J. Dickey reported Near peak numbers & migration of Puddle Ducks
Submitted: 11/29/2010 9:27:18 AM
Temp: 41 - 50 degrees
Wind: 10 - 15 mph
Wind Direction: from Southwest
Lots of ducks in the Swan lake area. Seen quite a few using fields. Rumor from some
locals is the area holding 150,000 ducks. Snow geese by the thousands
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