Migration Alert: Oklahoma habitat, duck numbers look promising

Report posted December 6, 2011

By Wade Bourne

Oklahoma hunters can expect lots of birds and good shooting as the state's duck season reopens Saturday, December 10 in Zones 1 and 2.  Josh Richardson, migratory game bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, reports that recent cold fronts have brought big influxes of mallards and other species into this state.  This past Saturday, Dec. 3, one of Richardson's assistants observed a large number of goldeneyes on a mid-state reservoir.  These birds typically are late migrators, and their presence in Oklahoma indicates that the migration from northern states is well underway.
"We're looking especially good in the eastern two-thirds of the state," Richardson continues.  "We had a record hot, dry summer in 2011, and water in many of our reservoirs receded to very low levels.  This allowed a spectacular growth of native vegetation on the mudflats.  Then, we had a big storm system come through in early November that dropped several inches of rain and refilled the reservoirs to normal pool, so now the vegetation is flooded and providing good natural food for the ducks that are coming in."

Current weather conditions are good for hunting ducks in Oklahoma – highs in the 40s and lows around 20.  "I think we picked up a lot of ducks with the front that came through this past weekend, and I'm optimistic that hunters will see a lot of action when the season reopens Saturday," Richardson summarizes.

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