Pennsylvania is a massive state, bordering the Mississippi Flyway in the west, while sitting smack dab in the heart of the Atlantic Flyway in the east. Just like other hunters across much of the country, Keystone State waterfowlers have been struggling with unusually warm, placid weather this season. Dry weather has also had an impact on waterfowl distribution in the state.

"Locally, precipitation was below normal from June through November," says Jerry Bish, former manager at Pymatuning Lake Wildlife Management Area in the northwest corner of the state. "This has resulted in below normal wetland water levels. We have been seeing normal migrations of waterfowl, but without many peak days."

Bish, who is also an avid waterfowl hunter, says most early- and mid-season migrants moved on after the first freeze earlier this month, with some mallards and black ducks filtering in lately.

Mossy Oak prostaffer Luke Nagel, who hunts in western Pennsylvania, has been struggling with warm temperatures and an overall lack of migration activity. 

"Goose hunting has been pretty good when conditions are suitable, but many of our ducks have moved on, and unless we get some really cold weather north of us in Canada and New York, we're just not going to see much of push. I've been enjoying taking youth hunters out; this weather is perfect for that. We're making the best of it," Nagel says. 

While duck numbers may be lagging, migration activity is increasing for geese, especially in the eastern half of the state. 

"Duck numbers have been poor in this area," says Black Duck Outfitters guide Scott Schafer. "That said, Canada goose numbers are increasing, and the migration has started."

Schafer's observation jibes with many other reports throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring New York State over the past few days. With luck, the ducks won't be far behind.

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