Migration Alert: Snow and Cold Heats Up Hunting in Idaho

Dec. 5, 2019 – Pacific Flyway – Idaho

© Michael Furtman

After a slow start, the stage seems to be set for excellent duck hunting across central and southwest Idaho, following a sudden storm last week that blanketed much of eastern Idaho with snow.

“It’s that time of year,” says Jeff Knetter, waterfowl manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “I have heard that hunters are doing pretty well along the Snake River.”

Knetter notes that many of the state’s wildlife management areas aren’t seeing a lot of traffic, but good hunting opportunities remain in the west, with a freeze-thaw cycle occurring after cold evenings.

“The cooler weather has been helpful for ducks, and we’re seeing more geese,” Knetter says.

Chris Colson, DU’s Boise-based biologist, confirms that there was an exodus of waterfowl from eastern Idaho after last week’s snowstorm. “Many birds appear to have moved on,” Colson says. “They follow the west side of the Rockies into the Great Salt Lake basin, and some may have gone all the way to the Sacramento Valley.”

But Colson agrees that conditions are now excellent for waterfowlers in central and southwest Idaho. “The sweet spot might be the next couple of weeks,” he predicts. “Now is the time. The ducks are here, and there’s still a lot of food available for birds skipping back and forth between the rivers and fields.”