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2012-13 migration reports


Migration Alert: Arkansas light goose numbers remain strong

The Light Goose Conservation Order opens the door for February waterfowling in Arkansas. The LGCO's liberal regulations levels the playing field for hunters hoping to decoy these difficult birds. As temperatures begin to warm, light geese will begin heading north, but ideal habitat is holding birds in Arkansas for those looking for late-season opportunities.

Migration Alert: Light geese numbers increasing in North Mississippi

Mississippi Light Goose Conservation Order re-opened following the February 2-3 Youth Season, and steady numbers may provide excellent opportunities for the upcoming weekend.

Migration Alert: Migration Peaks for Season's Final Days, Youth Seasons

Just as opening day has a certain feel to it, so too does closing day. And as my friends and I pitched the blocks one last time in Pennsylvania, there was a sense of foreboding, knowing the off-season doldrums ahead, that mixed with high hopes of one last good shoot. But how the mallards responded.

Migration Alert: Good Signs for Great Late Goose Hunting

The sun sets on duck season this week in the Pacific Flyway, and now geese are the only game in town. Hunters like Jason Haley of My Outdoor Buddy took one last shot at duck hunting before moving on to late-season geese, which offer limited but excellent opportunities until March 10, when the federal framework governing waterfowling hunting closes all seasons until fall.

Migration Alert: Final Duck Hunting Weekend for Southern Mississippi Flyway States

Hunters have until sunset on January 27 to pursue ducks in the last few states in the lower Mississippi River Valley where the general waterfowl season is still open.

Migration Alert: Late-Season Opportunities Remain in Oklahoma and Missouri

Scouting will be the key to success during the last weekend of the duck season in Oklahoma. Next door in northwestern Missouri, waterfowlers are also focusing on geese.

Migration Alert: Northwest Duck Hunting Goes on Ice; California Has Hot Spots

Duck hunters will find nothing great about the Great Northwest as the season comes to a close this week, but the forecast continues to be fair in sunny California.

Migration Alert: Arkansas waterfowlers preparing for excellent finish

Two to three inches of rain fell over eastern Arkansas Jan.12, causing slash water to collect in previously dry fields and pushing the Cache and White Rivers into adjoining sloughs, oxbows and green timber flats. The ducks have responded by shifting from managed water areas into these freshly-flooded places where new food sources are available.

Migration Alert: Goose Hunting is Great

Late last summer, just before the opening bell on early waterfowl seasons, the chatter among hunters was about the record number of ducks poised to come down the flyway. Now that seasons are closed for many waterfowlers, or at least will be closed in the near future, that cautious optimism has done a 180... Truth is, just like every year, some hunters succeed where others fail.

Migration Alert: Strong Teal Flight Arrives in Florida

Despite a severe drought affecting northern Florida, Sunshine State biologists report strong numbers of staple species: blue- and green-winged teal, ringnecks, wigeon and scaup.

Migration Alert: Western Kentucky

Low water. Ice. Nocturnal feeding. Stale Birds. All these are reasons why duck hunting in western Kentucky's famed Ballard County and Henderson waterfowl areas has been disappointing in recent days. Both areas picked up new ducks with back-to-back cold fronts between Christmas and New Year. However, these birds have settled into "hunter avoidance mode," and hunting success has suffered in the first week of 2013.

Migration Alert: Hunters Toast New Year with Cold Duck

Hunters in the Columbia Basin and eastern Oregon managed to bag their birds this past week, but they had to put in their time, by either scouting in advance or hunting all day.

Migration Alert: Mid-Atlantic Duck Hunters, Go Now!

Atlantic flyway duck hunters got what they wanted this holiday season: cold weather. On Christmas Eve temperatures started falling in the northeast, and they have stayed low through New Year.

Migration Alert: Missouri Waterfowlers Hope for Warmer Weather and New Birds

With Missouri’s north and middle zones now closed to duck hunting, most of the state’s waterfowlers are now hunting geese – if they can find them. At Grand Pass Conservation Area east of Kansas City, the most recent count estimated 100,000 mallards, a good sign for hunters in the southern part of the state still hoping for new ducks to arrive.

Migration Alert: Hard Water Sends Birds South

By most accounts, Texas waterfowlers have been enjoying a banner season, especially during the second half of the split.

Migration Alert: Louisiana duck hunters expecting new birds

As this report is written, a strong storm system is pushing through upper and middle Mississippi Flyway states, bringing heavy snows, gale-force winds and plummeting temperatures.

Migration Alert: Duck Hunters Dream of a White Christmas

West Coast duck hunters want not only a white Christmas but also an early one that will deliver all the ducks on their wish lists.

Migration Alert: Warm Weather Has East Coast Seaduck Hunts Suffering

Earlier this week I reported on poor puddle duck hunting along the Atlantic flyway. Well, the bad news extends to seaduck hunters. A survey of guides up and down the coast points to low numbers, high pressure, and hard days on the salt water.

Migration Alert: Finished Up North; Fabulous Down South

My mother always said to start with the hardest task first because it makes the rest seem easy by comparison. So let's begin with ducks in the northernmost reaches of the Mississippi Flyway—the hardest thing to have to report. One word: Done.

Migration Alert: Low water, limited food spreads birds thin

Dec. 14 - Central Flyway - Kansas: Most of Kansas is dry, just like much of the Central Flyway. But in this drought where can hunters find birds? The first place to look is in the north-central part of the state near Jamestown WMA.

Migration Alert: Warm, Wet Weather Spreads Ducks Thin

Record highs and wet weather across much of the East Coast has made for poor duck hunting north and south. With little cold weather in sight, it could be a challenging week for Atlantic flyway hunters.

Migration Alert: Warm Weather Delays Ducks on Chesapeake Bay

A second straight year of unseasonable warmth has plagued the Atlantic Flyway. As I write this, a quick look at the Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl Migration Map reveals temperatures ranging from 43 F in Toronto to 58 F in New York City and 66 F in southern Virginia.

Migration Alert: Tennessee's Reelfoot Lake waterfowl numbers improving

Prospects for duck hunting at Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee are improving, thanks to a new influx of birds and a forecast for a strong cold front pushing through by the first of next week.

Migration Alert: South Dakota holding 750,000 mallards

Hardy mallards and Canada geese are well known for holding out in the northern reaches of the Central Flyway until bitter cold temps, ice and snow drive them south. Considering that South Dakota has had little in the way of anything resembling winter weather, it should come as no surprise that there are a few birds still hanging around. Well, actually, a lot of birds.

Migration Alert: Oklahoma waterfowlers have reason for optimism

Despite a year of extreme drought and high temperatures, the re-opening of Oklahoma's waterfowl season this weekend should be strong throughout many parts of the state.

Migration Alert: Rain, wind not enough to push California waterfowl south

Waterfowl habitat overall is looking great in the Central Valley. Lots of water means an abundance of shallow flooded areas, even rice ground that was not intentionally flooded is now providing decent habitat.

Migration Alert: Northerners Turn To Geese; Southerners Await Ducks

I can hear the rather rotund lady either warming up or in full voice in the northern portion of the Mississippi Flyway. For many hunters in the Upper Midwest, it's time to start putting away the duck gear and begin thinking about geese, or ice fishing.

Migration Alert: Ducks Arriving Early in North Carolina

Arriving waterfowl have been aided by ample natural wetlands, thanks to a fairly wet summer and recent rains.

Sea Duck Action Is Taking Off

I've spent the last few mornings off the Rhode Island coast chasing sea ducks. Birds are around, but not yet in the high numbers we like to see.

Migration Alert: DU Chief Scientist previews holiday weekend waterfowl

The duck season is open in all but a couple of states and zones over the Thanksgiving weekend. With the exception of opening day, that makes late November the most popular waterfowl time of the fall.

Migration Alert: Ducks Are Flying—Just in Time for Hunters

Cold temperatures this week are finally moving ducks south in the Atlantic Flyway. Every state in the flyway is open, or will open, this week or next.

Migration Alert: Cold weather may improve California waterfowl hunting

The mild weather pushed waterfowl into an easy lifestyle of resting on the closed areas. However, colder weather setting in should force the birds to get out and feed more often, putting them in front of more hunters.

Migration Alert: Migration Moves Into the Mid-Plains States

As expected, last weekend's winter storm in the northern Central Flyway finally got ducks on the move.

Migration Alert: Mississippi biologist reports early mallards

Mississippi's season doesn't open until Nov. 23, but early habitat reports indicate the chance for an opportunity-rich season.

Migration Alert: Survey flights report above-average waterfowl numbers in Illinois

A strong frontal passage on Nov. 12 pushed new ducks into Illinois. Aerial survey figures taken the next day show impressive numbers in the Illinois River Valley and along the upper Mississippi River.

Migration Alert: Cold Weather Should Equal Hot Hunting

For the past few weeks, waterfowlers have been lamenting the bipolar nature of pre-peak-migration duck hunting.

Migration Alert: Storm Stalls Ducks; Geese Blacken the Sky

With Hurricane Sandy last week and a cold front this week, you'd expect good numbers of Atlantic flyway birds hauling for southern climes. But with a few exceptions, recent weather in the northeast has stalled duck migrations.

Migration Alert: Cold front may help Nebraska waterfowlers

In Nebraska, the line of "wait until next week" for waterfowlers is becoming an often-made statement. Warm temperatures and decent water conditions to the north of the state have kept the majority of waterfowl away thus far.

Migration Alert: Duck Hunting After Hurricane Sandy

While much of the coastal northeast U.S. is still digging out of Hurricane Sandy's damage – or just waiting for the lights to come on – biologists are starting to look at the super-storm's impact on wildlife habitat and migratory bird patterns.

Migration Alert: Hoosier waterfowl hunters waiting for migration

Reports from the North and Central Zones have waterfowlers restricted to untraditional large bodies of water and sighting few migrants. With cold weather in the near future, hunters throughout the state remain optimistic.

Migration Alert: SW Louisiana waterfowl habitat in good shape

The regular waterfowl season opener is only a few days away and hunters with up-to-date scouting reports and the ability to adjust accordingly will likely have a great opener.

Migration Alert: Ducks Are on the Move…Finally

This time of year, any rumor of a storm can get waterfowlers worked up and ready for new birds to arrive, and it seems the cold fronts that pushed their way across the northern Plains late last week finally got some ducks and geese moving south.

Migration Alert: Cold Weather Should Push Some Birds South

Despite the weather coming through Iowa right now, I reckon what they say about the "October Lull" might actually have some truth to it.

Migration Alert: How Will Hurricane Sandy Affect Migrating Waterfowl?

Atlantic Flyway duck hunters have been praying for rain to fill drought-stricken marshes and improve habitat for migrating waterfowl. However, nobody asked for it to arrive with the speed and intensity of Hurricane Sandy.

Migration Alert: Arkansas waterfowl habitat dry, but season remains promising

With the general Arkansas duck season less than one month away, many of the state’s waterfowl hunters are praying for rain.

Migration Alert: Freeze-up Approaches the Northern Prairies

Parts of north-central Alberta received more than 9 inches of snow earlier this week, which will quickly push birds out of that country as waste grain becomes inaccessible under the snow. Waterfowlers across the Midwest should be on the lookout for a push of new birds coming southward over the next week.

Migration Alert: Snows, Whitefronts are winging it, but duck data differs

If Sandhill cranes were leading the charge south in the last couple of weeks, then specks and snows are hot on their tail in the eastern half of the Central Flyway.

Migration Alert: Wisconsin waterfowl numbers increasing as cold front approaches

The outlook for waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin is improving as duck and goose numbers continue to build along the Mississippi River and on the famed Horicon Marsh.

Migration Alert: Low Water and Concentrated Hunting Pushing Birds Out

Early season duck hunting has been underway for about a week in most states north of the Mason Dixon, with mixed reports on bird numbers and hunter success rolling in.

Migration Alert: High Winds Should Push Some Waterfowl South

The wind is blowing a sustained 45 miles per hour outside right now, with gusts to 60. It's a day fit for neither man nor beast, but if you believe everything you read on the Internet, a mallard duck can travel 800 miles in eight hours with a 50 mph tailwind.

Migration Alert: Oregon waterfowlers having success along the coast

Western Oregon waterfowl hunters are experiencing average hunting conditions at the onset of the 2012-13 waterfowl hunting season.

Migration Alert: Central Valley waterfowl habitat in great shape

The wetland habitat in the Grasslands of Merced County in the Central Valley of California is primed and ready for ducks.

Migration Alert: Sandhill Cranes Signal Migration Kick-Off

One of the first signs of autumn’s migration is the trilling call of Sandhill cranes as they wing their way south for the season. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been hearing cranes, and picking their faint outlines out of the clouds.

Migration Alert: Key on Water to Find Atlantic Waterfowl

A satisfying chill swept New York and northern Pennsylvania last week, exciting duck hunters and lending a sense of urgency to early-migrating waterfowl.

Migration Alert: Severe drought is a challenge for Colorado waterfowlers

Colorado waterfowl hunters are facing tough conditions this season due to low water levels. With more ducks and geese moving south with each cold front, some migrants may pass by traditional areas that are currently dry.

Migration Alert: Slow Start to Duck Openers, but Reports of Woodies are Wild

Mixed reports from opening weekend in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont have many speculating a slow start to the Atlantic flyway duck migration.

Migration Alert: Early pintail arrivals indicate dry conditions in north Pacific Flyway

Pintails typically arrive like clockwork on August 10. Unfortunately, this likely reflects the dry conditions in the Klamath Basin, which is forcing waterfowl to fly over and travel farther south earlier than normal.

Migration Alert: Early Northern Storm Should Get Ducks Moving

Two words characterize the Mississippi Flyway now—COLD and FRONT. And not just your everyday little chill in the air.

Migration Alert: Migration on the Canadian Prairies continues on schedule

Throughout Saskatchewan very good numbers of ducks were scattered across most wetlands. Light geese were abundant with good numbers of Canada geese and a few white-fronted geese also present.

Migration Alert: All Signs Point to a Locals-Only Opener

By most accounts, the North Dakota opener was a successful one for hunters. A mixed bag of birds--widgeon, gadwall, some divers and a few remaining teal--were taken over water, while residents in the know filled their straps with mallards hunting exclusively in the fields.

North Dakota: Early Season Outlook

Following several weeks of warm, dry weather, the outlook remains generally positive for waterfowl hunting in North Dakota.

Migration Alert: A Long Drive through Duck Country

I've just returned from a hunt in which a friend and I drove from our home in Clarksville, Tennessee, to The Pas, Manitoba, Canada—a distance of over 1,800 miles each way!

Migration Alert: Hurricane Isaac's Aftermath

More than two weeks after Hurricane Isaac made landfall, the impacts are still clearly visible along the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf coast.

Migration Alert: Brandon, Manitoba—Early Season Success

The opening weekend of the waterfowl season in Manitoba provided me with the opportunity to continue a tradition I began last season, which was my first on the prairies of Manitoba.

Migration Alert: Upcoming weather may prompt teal migration

DU Chief Scientist Dale Humburg explains why an upcoming weather scenario may prompt blue-winged teal migration.

New Waterfowl Migration Map Features

Now entering its fifth season, the DU Waterfowl Migration Map is back and loaded with new features to help you follow the ducks this season.

Fall Flight Update: A Year of Extremes

Ducks Unlimited Chief Scientist, Dale Humburg shares his thoughts on habitat and hunting in 2012-2013.

Migration Alert: Conditions look good in Saskatchewan for opener

Habitat in and around Wadena, Saskatchewan is decent as local birds begin to congregate. Sandhills are moving in, but only local ducks and geese are currently present.

North Dakota 2012 Spring Breeding Duck Survey

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual spring breeding duck survey showed an index of 4.8 million birds, up 16 percent from last year and 112 percent above the long-term average (1948-2011).

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