Cold and Snow to force waterfowl migration south
The forecast calls for a sharp drop in temperatures starting tonight and continuing through the next few days. We are finally going to get the cold to link up with the moisture and produce snow to get the waterfowl migration in full swing! Winter weather advisories and winter storm watches have been posted for for parts of Iowa, northern Illinois, and Wisconsin. Three to eight inches of snow is on the way along with sub-freezing temperatures and 30-40 mph northwest winds. Sounds like a good recipe for a waterfowl migration! One to three inches of snow could fall as far south as I-70.
The close to the south central waterfowl hunting zone in Illinois passed quietly earlier this week. It started off very well, but quickly went sour shortly into December. There are lots of factors that went into it: spring flooding wiping out a lot of moist soil vegetation, lack of long lasting cold and arctic fronts during the season, and the continued shift west of the Mississippi Flyway. Missouri is doing more for their ducks than Illinois. Naturally they're figuring out where the most food is and that's where they are going. With all that being said, all hope is not lost! We can still hunt ducks in the south zone of Illinois. An early morning report we received from some friends in southern Illinois is new ducks are already showing up ahead of the latest front. They've already killed 18 birds by 9AM. Expect more fresh ducks to continue to show the next few days with a hard freeze and snow coming!
The Fowled Reality crew expects the goose hunting to finally pick up in the coming days. The same front that has the ducks on the move should get the geese active as well! There are hit and miss reports of good numbers from I-72 all the way to Illinois/Wisconsin border. We expect the numbers to increase substantially as the remaining birds in Wisconsin finally get pushed south in the coming days. The question is, just how far south with the go? They need open water to roost and an uncovered food source. The forecast looks like they'll have to travel pretty far south to find an open food source and water should start locking up quickly starting tomorrow.
The snow combined with the wind will make scouting throughout the northern 2/3's of Illinois nearly impossible on Thursday, but come Friday it's time to hit the road and see just how far south the honkers are going to travel. We'll be covering a large area from south of I-70 all the way to I-74 in hopes of finding geese. With highs Friday in the low to mid 20's, waterfowl will have to be feeding on hot food rather than the subdivisions and lake grass they've been on so far this season. Combine that with the full moon to look for afternoon feedings. Water is going to lock up fast and should stay that way for the forseeable future! Another system is in the cards early next week which should continue to send the waterfowl migratino southward across portions of the Mississippi Flyway. Good luck this weekend!
For waterfowl migration reports from around the country.