The south central waterfowl hunting zone in Illinois opens up this weekend so it’s time to start our weekly waterfowl migration updates for 2013/2014. Expectations this year are high with the number of waterfowl surveyed over the summer and the cool start we’ve had to fall. Hopefully mother nature will continue to cooperate and this year will be a great year for waterfowl hunting.
A series of fronts over the past couple weeks has the duck migration in full swing. Pintails, teal, and gadwall are numerous across much of Missouri and Illinois. There has even been a few positive reports out of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas of good numbers of ducks already this year. Pockets of mallards do exist across these areas as the calendar birds begin pushing south. The big groups of mallards that every waterfowl hunter dreams of are currently across the southern tier of Canada and the Dakotas. Temperatures are dipping below freezing at night and small bodies of water are icing up only to thaw during the day as temps rise above freezing.
Snow Goose/Specklebelly Migration
Light geese are strung out from the Dakotas all the way to Arkansas just as the ducks are. A good number of migrating geese and specklebellies have been moving through our part of Illinois this week and should continue to do so in the future as large concentrations have still been reported all the way to the Canadian border.
Canada Goose Migration
The leading edge of migrating Canada geese have been noted across the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Let’s hope this year us “southerners” get a crack at them after missing out the last two years.
Next Week’s Weather
The weather this week looks to continue the waterfowl migration southward. A storm system from the north-northwest will move across the central plains and midwest during the middle of the week. Colder temperatures and even snow are being talked about. It doesn’t appear to be a huge system that will blanket a large area, but could leave a narrow band of snow in it’s wake. The drop in temperatures should lock up bodies of water in Canada and many areas in North Dakota other than the rivers. Snow cover is missing all the way across the border into Canada, but as water freezes some birds will move south. As cold air and snow cover begin to build in central Canada, it looks to be only a matter of time before the waterfowl migration gets into full swing as we approach the winter months.