Waterfowl Migration Update – November 13, 2012

Waterfowl Migration Update

Our season finally opened at home in the south central zone in Illinois. Opening day dawned with a forecasted high of 79 and a 25-30mph south wind. Unfortunately, the weathermen were correct. Hunters across the area experienced mixed results. The managed state areas had some birds and hunters that were drawn early enjoyed some success. A few groups of flight birds began to show up across the area on Sunday as the latest cold front waterfowl migrationapproached. Most areas received at least an inch of rain which helps lessen the remaining effects of the summer drought. The cold front not only brought rain, but also a 25+ degree drop in temperatures and a wind shift to the north. The drop in temps and northerly winds brought with it a good waterfowl migration. Numerous new groups of Pintails, Wigeon, Shovelors, Gadwall, and divers entered southern Illinois. There were even some Mallards beginning to show up. Many think this is the leading edge of greenheads with the best yet to come as winter sets in. There was also an influx of Snow Geese and Specklebellies with the cold front.  We enjoyed a good hunt post coldfront with 7 Mallards, 4 Gadwall, a Wood Duck, and a Wigeon.

The waterfowl surveys for Illinois have been updated and Southern Illinois is loaded with ducks. 185,000 birds have been counted in Southern parts of Illinois as of yesterday. A good portion of them are Mallards. Time will tell if they will stick around or if the lack of water will force them to continue south.

The outlook for the waterfowl migration the rest of the week is not as good as it was early in the week. The weather pattern across the US is going zonal with no large system in sight. Temperatures across a large portion of the country will return to seasonal. The calendar birds will continue to migrate when they always do, but the freeze and snow line birds will likely stay put. Temperatures in Illinois will be in the 50’s for highs and 30’s for lows. The lack of flooded habitat across Illinois and Missouri could lead to the waterfowl migration progressing further south even without a strong front. Waterfowl could continue south until they find the abundant habitat they need.

Southern Illinois Waterfowl MigrationIllinois RiverMississippi River, and Missouri.


Atlantic Flyway Waterfowl Migration

Justin Tackett of KES Waterfowlers

waterfowl migration

“Well, the last day of our middle split in WV did not pan out to well, except for good times with friends.  Hitting a back water expecting Super Storm Sandy to have pushed some more Wood Ducks down, and possibly Mallards did just the opposite.  It was a long morning, just to see 4 Wood Ducks circle once and bug out.  The local geese are starting to get pressured, and going to their safe havens.  With the cold front passing through the hopes of having new birds are better but the down side is seasons out till December.  But what can you do other than keep your fingers crossed that the weather works out for season, or travel?  My trigger finger is getting itchy so I’m thinking travel might be in store.  Knock Em Stiff!”


Central Flyway Waterfowl Migration

Levi Daniel of C&L Outdoors

“Well, it was a tale of two worlds for us this weekend. Saturday it was warm and windy, much of the same from the previous week. Saturday was slow for us, the few birds we had in the area had become stale and we didn’t have any new birds to hunt. Sunday, however, was completely different. Mid-morning, we had a cold front push through that dropped our temps over 20 degrees and brought us some much needed rain.  The rest of the day was full of migrators, with Snows and Specks being heard over head and Mallards starting to show up in the area. Sunday and Monday brought us our first significant push of the year and was hopefully the beginning of a great season.”

private land waterfowl hunting

Bill Witt of Bag’Em Outdoors

decoy bags“Birds are in full swing in southern ND we have been hunting them hard the last couple of weekends, if temps stay up and water stays open hunting should be good for a couple of weeks. If the temp drops and waters close hunting will be done until spring in ND.”


Waterfowl Migration Update – November 6, 2012

Waterfowl Migration Update – November 6, 2012

The waterfowl migration is in full swing with early birds and calendar migrators beginning to arrive in the central part of the US and the mallards starting to vacate Canada. There have been a few decent fronts over the past couple weeks that have sent birds south and the snowpack to start the 2012-2013 waterfowl hunting season is ahead of where it was last year. Time will tell if the weather will continue to cooperate or not.

Duck Migration

We just returned from 6 days of hunting the waterfowl migration in central North Dakota with Muddy Dog Outdoors. When we arrived, it was 15 degrees and snow was flying. Small potholes were 95% frozen over and birds were concentrated Waterfowl Migration in North Dakotaon larger waters and were plentiful. Just two days after beginning our hunt, temperatures were in the mid 50’s and all of the ice was gone. Ducks spread back out, but with scouting they could be located. Many of the birds we killed early in the week were younger birds that still were not full plumage. Conditions changed back to cold and snowy mid week and we starting shooting larger, full plumage northern mallards. Divers and other puddle ducks were in the mix as well. Very few green wing teal and pintail were seen. We ended the week with over 100 birds with most being mallards. As we traveled home, the leading edge of big numbers of mallards appeared to be southern South Dakota and northern North Dakota. South of there, other ducks were around, but greenheads weren’t as plentiful.

Back home in Illinois, the southern Illinois waterfowl survey was well above it’s 10 year average, but the Illinois and Mississippi River valley surveys were lower than normal. Much of the state is still trying to make for the drought this summer. The lack of water could lead to birds pushing through faster than normal, but a solid shot at rain appears likely early next week that will hopefully dump a few inches of rain to make up for the lack of water for migration waterfowl.

For the rest of the week, the waterfowl migration will likely be at a standstill with above normal temperatures. The south central zone opener could be slower than normal due to the push of birds last week moving through quickly. Get out there and scout and you might be able to locate some left over birds and any residents that are around. Good luck this week and weekend!

private land waterfowl huntingFrom Levi Daniel owner of C&L Outdoors in southwest Missouri.

“Well, opening day finally arrived last Saturday.  As excited as we have been for this day, it was hard to get too excited come friday night/saturday morning.  The weather had been warm, water levels low, and the local conservation areas that normally hold 30k birds each were only holding 15k total! Nonetheless, we still got out of bed early and hunted hard like we would if there were 100,000 birds in the area.  Between three different club properties and 7 hunters, we managed to kill 7 ducks on opening day.  Not a good number, but still good to be out in the blind again.  Things are looking up though, a cold front is pushing through as I type this report.  We have had good north winds all day and the temp is dropping!  Hopefully this will bring us more birds.  Good luck until next time.”

Southern Illinois Waterfowl Migration, Illinois River, Mississippi River, and Missouri.