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Mississippi Flyway Waterfowl Migration is heating up!!!

This weekend was a tale of two days of different weather in the the south central Illinois waterfowl zone on the Mississippi Flyway.  Saturday, we were greeted with warm weather, little wind, and changeable skies.  We saw a fair amount of birds early and then again late.  A few birds showed interest, but the majority knew where they were going or just didn’t fly at all. With the forecast of an arriving front, light rain, and cooler temperatures, we had higher hopes for Sunday.

Our hopes of fresh waterfowl migration and colder temps came true on Sunday.  We witnessed numerous groups of waterfowl migrating south with the colder temperatures and rain.  We didn’t go more than five minutes without having birds work, or seeing them fall from the heavens into the refuge.  With the number of birds we saw, we should have easily had limits, but most birds had no intentions of working.  The crew tried numerous times to rearrange the decoys and adjust the mojos in hopes of enticing more, but nothing seemed to work. We made the most of the groups that did work and managed to take 17 birds with 4 guys in the pit!  Our take was a mix of mallards, widgeon, and pintail.

The new trailer for the upcoming season of Folwed Reality can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObKBYnhGMnI

With cold temperatures in the forecast, the hunting should continue to be great as the birds continue their migration south through Illinois along the Mississippi Flyway.  As smaller water starts to freeze up, the birds will become more concentrated on larger water.  Fire up the ice eaters in your pot holes, concentrate on rivers/large lakes, or spend some road time searching for birds hitting the fields and you’ll be in for a good hunt.

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Waterfowl Migration – December 1, 2011

We have finally had some colder weather up north and a few days of NW winds to start a little waterfowl migration.  The Southern Illinois waterfowl survey count is up over the course of the past two weeks, but still slightly behind the 5 year average.  Just under a third of the birds counted in Southern Illinois are at Pyramid State Park.  Chris and Blake are headed that direction tomorrow evening for a hunt on Saturday.  Hopefully it’ll be a good one!

Southern Illinois Survey courtesy of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources

http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/waterfowl/surveys/Documents/SI30Nov2011.pdf

With the cold weather this week, lakes are starting to ice over pushing the birds into the open water they can find.  From the Mississippi River surveys, it appears the largest concentration of Mallards is located in the central part of the river.  Over 270,000 ducks are in this area.  The next cold push should spur large waterfowl migration into our main area of hunting in Southern Illinois.  Looking long-range, there is talks of snow across portions of the central midwest the middle of next week.  With the snow comes colder weather, more ice, south flying ducks!

Mississippi River Survey courtesy of the Illinois Natural History

http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/fieldstations/forbes/2011/ms11302011.pdf

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Here and gone….

Someone turned the duck migration switch on, then right back off. On Monday, I took my buddy out on his first duck hunt. It was foggy and drizzly with a light wind.  When all was said and done, he was hooked!  We easily should have had our limit, but managed to bring home 10 teal.  The teal have been thick since the season opened, but by mid morning we had a seen a few large groups of migrating mallards coming into the lake.  We had one group give us a look, but there was just too many of them to do it on our little water hole.  The second group disappeared into the fog as they dropped into the lake.  We saw good numbers of birds up until 11 and then all was quiet the last hour.

 

duck migration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday was the day to remember!  For the third day in a row, it was overcast, foggy, and rainy, but the birds were on the move.  Early in the morning, we killed some more teal and a few redheads.  I even managed to cut my first canvasback and widgeon hen.  By mid-morning, small groups of mallards began showing up.  We haven't seen to many mallards since opening weekend, but with the cooler weather and three days of northwest winds, some have finally started showing up.  We had a few groups work, and had one group of 8 set up and the bottom 4 were in our face.  We ended the day with 6 mallards, teal, red head, canvasback, widgeon, and gadwall.  We filled our 3 limits of birds shortly before 11 and waited out the canada geese till 12.  Like the past 4 days, the geese landed and fed in a cut corn field nearly a mile away.

duck migration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday was my wife's first ever waterfowl hunt.  We had high hopes after the hunt we had on Tuesday.  Right off the bat, two teal came in and she dropped her first every duck.  Luckily she shot well, because we never drew the gun the rest of the day.  In total, we probably saw 50 ducks on the day.  A total reversal of the day before.  I'm not sure what has happened to good duck migration we had a day earlier.  They either moved on, or wised up!

 

duck migration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A cold front is coming tomorrow afternoon.  It will bring us some of the coldest temperatures of the year.  Sunday is forecasted to have a high in the lower 40s and some snow showers are possible.  Those cold temps should have birds on the move and hopefully bring down a fresh duck migration from the north.  Time will tell!!!!

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We need colder weather…..

It’s been a slow week of waterfowl hunting in south central Illinois.  Nearly every day this week we’ve had temps in the 60s with a 20+ mph south wind.  Definitely not conducive to waterfowl hunting.  We managed to scratch a few out through the mild weather during the week and finally got into them pretty good this morning after the cold front passage and during a steady rain.  Most of our birds are stale and very few mallards are around.  We’re mostly killing green wing teal and really not seeing much of anything else.

Torry’s first ducks on November 16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through the warm weather this week, the ducks were flying the first hour of the day then shut down by 730.  We have been seeing a few of the local geese feeding between 8-10, but they’re very weary being resident geese.  The ducks today stayed pretty steady through 10.  We had two mallards light before shooting light, only to leave before we had a chance, then the rest of the morning was filled with small groups of teal buzzing the pit.  We shot well early then started to lose our touch.  The day finished with a mixed bag of teal, a red head, and a couple local geese.  It was nice to actually hunt with cooler temperatures and calmer winds that aren’t out of the south.

 

With three days of rain in the forecast, we should have a little better luck this week than last!

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