Wild swings in temperatures has affected the waterfowl migration over the past week. We’ve gone from inches of snow cover across much of the southern portion of the state, to 60 degrees and sun just days later. Many small waters that were locked up are now thawing out and many ducks and geese have been noted heading back north with warming temperatures across much of the central United States.

Duck Migration

Waterfowl Migration OklahomaMost of the duck hunting zones in Illinois and Missouri are now closed, but many ducks remain. As the season closed in the south-central zone, if you had open water, you were killing ducks. It was a great end to the season for many duck hunters across the area. Further south where the season is still open, many ducks are still around and with the warm weather and thawing ice, many reports of a reverse waterfowl migration are popping up. The bounce back should be short lived as an arctic front and possible winter storm are slated for Sunday. Canada Geese and Snow Geese should follow along with the ducks with the coming weather.

Goose Migration

For the first time in two years, there is a huntable number of Canada Geese across much of central Missouri and Illinois. Not a ton of geese, but enough to mess with if you can find a good concentration. Patterns are tough to get on because of the swings in temperatures, but with sustained cold looking to move in, early next week should provide solid feeding patterns to hunt.Waterfowl Migration Missouri The key is to locate the “X” with the number of geese that are around. Hunting off of the field they’re using might yield a little success, but there isn’t hardly enough geese around to make it worth while.

Snow Goose Migration

With highs nearing 60 yesterday, many snow geese were northbound. Look for that trend to continue tomorrow with highs in the mid 60s and a 15 mph south wind.  Many snow geese will ride the wind and warmth north. Concentrations of snows have been noted across power plant lakes in Illinois, but the bulk of the snow goose migration has moved south of I70 which is good news for the Spring Conservation Season.

Illinois River Waterfowl Migration Survey, Mississippi River, Southern Illinois, Missouri