Duck Breeding 2016 Report Likely a Mix of Good and Bad News
With the annual duck breeding population survey due to release, online reports offer a few clues about what duck hunters might expect to hear; conditions are variable by location and duck numbers, though still good, may not be as plentiful as last year's record crop
According to online reports, waterfowl hunters should see a decent number ducks for the 2016 season. (Jeff Phillips photo)
From the start, I'll admit that I'm getting a bit antsy, a dedicated waterfowler who is dreaming of fall duck hunting trips as I tend to the current yard work demands under broiling summertime conditions.
All as I wait – impatiently, I might add – on the waterfowler's summertime oasis, the annual report from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on the May pond count and spring duck breeding population survey recently conducted on the duck breeding grounds of the northern U.S. and southern Canada.
While it will still be a while before the official numbers get released, I have been able to glean a clue or two from reports coming out from such organizations as Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl.
From what information I'm cautiously gathering, this year's duck population seems to remain on the higher side of the ledger following the recent run of good weather years, wet breeding grounds and record-size fall flights.
But take such optimism with a grain of salt since a variety of weather conditions last winter and spring have delayed surveys along with bringing overall drier conditions back to a good portion of the fabled prairie pothole nesting grounds known collectively as North America's Duck Factory.
That much seems apparent after sampling a variety of Flyways.us online dispatches (http://flyways.us/status-of-waterfowl/pilot-reports) filed during the annual breeding survey from duck counting biologists on the ground and pilots up in the air.
What follows is a sampling of what these duck surveyors found in April, May and very early June.
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