A pattern change is underway across much of the country and the waterfowl migration will kick into full gear as we move into the middle of the week. Winter Storm, Ice Storm, and even Blizzard warnings have been posted from the Texas panhandle all the way to northern Wisconsin. Snow and ice are already falling in Texas and Oklahoma and will move northeast through the next 48 hours. Along with the snow will be lasting cold air that will lock up water and combined with snow covered food sources, many waterfowl will be forced south.
Many mallards are still hung up in southern Canada and North Dakota. It finally went below zero there last night, but many of these birds will not leave these areas with it being this late in the year and because of zero to no snow cover. A winter storm laid down a fresh snow pack in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, northern Nebraska, and Minnesota on Saturday and sent some birds south. The reinforcing snow pack from this coming system will continue to force waterfowl to migrate. The heaviest swath of snow looks to be from western Oklahoma to Omaha on up through southern Minnesota. The Missouri River basin should be covered in 6 t0 15 inches of snow from South Dakota to northwest Missouri. From past experience, this isn’t going to send all of the ducks south, but a good number of them should relocate to the edge of the snow pack when all is said and done by mid week.
On the warm side of this system, historic flooding is currently taking place. Upwards of a foot of rain will fall from northwest
Arkansas up through central Missouri. These areas should see some new birds with colder weather setting in in the coming days and all the rain will create new food sources. Find those fresh food sources and you will find the ducks! Check out the latest episode of Hard Core Waterfowl TV where we were in Kansas after 10 inches of rain in 2 weeks. Sheet water opened up a fresh food source and the ducks were thick!
It’s been a slow start to the year for many waterfowl hunters, but with this drastic change in the weather finally taking place, the hunting looks to pick up drastically as we move towards the new year!