Waterfowl Migration Reports — Central

Avery Outdoors takes a look at Waterfowl migration reports.


Name:David Ortley

Date:November 11, 2014

Location:Kalispell, Montana

Weather:We enjoyed mild temperatures late last week after our first snow fall.   Saturday was clear and sunny with highs into the 50’s.  Between Saturday night and late Sunday we received over an inch of rain. Sunday evening the temperature plummeted and the snow arrived on a strong north wind.  Since then the temperature has been in the high teens with the high only 25. The forecast is for record cold and snow with clearer skies late in the week. 

Snow Cover: Snow on the valley floor is spotty. The mountains continue to receive snow. 

Water Conditions: The recent rains made a noticeable difference in the river flow.  Since the cold weather struck the smaller bodies of water have frozen. The saturated fields are now lightly frozen. 

Feeding Conditions:Feeding conditions worsened with the arrival of snow and cold.  While the fields are mostly clear of snow they are becoming frozen. Birds will likely look to the river and open spring feed water for feed until the temperature moderates. 

Species and Numbers:We had plenty of birds just before the weather hit. While birds undoubtedly left in advance of the weather it appears that birds are coming in from the north.  The coming days will confirm whether we have fresh birds. 

Migrations:We have a mix of mallards, pintail, and gadwall.  A few wigeon have been seen on an open slough.  Late today an unusually large flock of geese was observed making its way to an open field that had been warmed by the afternoon sun on an otherwise cold frigid day.  

Season Stage:This is the start of the sixth week of our season. 

Hunting Report:Hunting pressure has lessened but hunting remains good.  As expected the focus is on now whitetail. 

Gossip: The general big game season continues to be well above average. The recent cold blast should kick the rut into full gear.     


Name:Jeremy Devries      


Location:Billings, MT

Weather:Snow and cold. 6 degrees

Snow Cover:  2-4”

Water Conditions:Freezing up as we speak.

Feeding Conditions:Light snow has most fields still open to feeding waterfowl.  

Species and Numbers:  Mallards are increasing in numbers daily.  Wood ducks and teal are mostly all gone now with this most recent cold snap.

Migrations:This is the start!!

Season Stage:Week 4. Remember we have a split season in parts of MT this year. 

Hunting Report:Hunting has been very good the past 2 days. Increasing cold weather and north winds have started the serious push of waterfowl to our area. Reports of limit shooting on the Clarks Fork and in fields for geese near the Afterbay Reservoir on the Bighorn. Duck numbers are still a little scattered as area ponds, ditches and sloughs are just freezing. Lots of birds looking for open water. Yellowstone in still clear an holding birds. I also had a great duck report from a warm water spring near Lewistown.

Gossip:If you’re eating Halloween candy, it’s duck season!


Name:Brandon Geweke              


Location:Fargo, North Dakota    

Weather:Lows in the teens and highs mid-30’s. 

Snow Cover: 3-7 inches over the week

Water Conditions:Small potholes frozen up, forcing the birds to concentrate on larger bodies of water

Feeding Conditions: Massive duck feeds in corn fields. Snows moving in hitting same fields. Lessers are hitting bean fields still.

Species and Numbers: Lots of mallard in ND right now. Snows moved in at the end of the week. Right when we got to ND lessers were thick but when we left on Sunday there were very few big feeds left.

Migrations:With all the north winds and weather in ND last week we saw large duck migrations. Snows are stacking up in ND now.

Season Stage:Middle of our hunting season now.

Hunting Report: Had an amazing trip in ND, timing was perfect. We ended up shooting 3 goose bands that was a nice bonus.

Gossip:We were very lucky with our timing for the hunt. Mild temperatures have kept the majority of the birds in Canada until this front.


Name:Greg Owens

Date:Nov 5 2014

Location: Gwinner, ND

Weather:Lows in the 30’s and highs in the 50’s.

Snow Cover: None yet

Water Conditions:  The water is very low.

Feeding Conditions:  Most of the fields are picked.

Species and Numbers:  There are very few ducks around.  Probably 5% of what is normally in the area this time of year.

Migrations: The localbirds have moved through.  And there were a few new ducks showing up as we were packing up to come back home.

Season Stage:There are a few weeks left of duck season. Geese go on through the end of the year.

Hunting Report: Everybody I talked to had the same dismal success that we had.  Even the local guys and the relatives of the major land owners were only shooting a couple ducks a day.

Gossip: If you have a trip planned up here you may want to wait for some weather north to push birds into the area. They will come. It’s just a matter of when and if they will stick around or just blow through.


Name:Kirk Steffensen

Date:November 12, 2014

Location:Lincoln, NE

Weather:Unseasonable cold, highs in the upper 20’s with overnight lows near single digits.  Strong north wind the past several days.

Snow Cover: Light dusting

Water Conditions: Great – Rainwater Basins are all full with water everywhere.  Local lakes and ponds are also full. 

Feeding Conditions: Harvest is almost completed with only a few fields remaining.

Species and Numbers:Great number of ducks and geese moved into and through the area.

Migrations:The first major (and hopefully, not the only) push occurred the past couple days.

Season Stage:Duck and goose seasons are open state-wide.

Hunting Report:Great, limits of ducks and geese taken across the eastern half of the state.

Gossip:Nothing at this time.


Name:Jared Shepard       


Location:Scottsbluff, NE

Weather:It finally feels like winter! Highs this week expected to only reach the mid-30’s with lows in the negative single digits!

Snow Cover: Just a dusting…

Water Conditions: The water level in the river appears to be staying at a good level for hunting and does not appear to have changed much over the past week.

Feeding Conditions: Lots of corn, beans and alfalfa are available for migratory birds!

Species and Numbers:Still only local ducks and geese in the area. Quite a few green- winged teal and some mallards along with family groups of local geese.

Migrations: No major migrations yet. I still have yet to see or hear many cranes but with any luck we should be seeing some new birds with this cold front!

Season Stage:All waterfowl seasons and pheasant season are open!

Hunting Report: We are anticipating a good number of birds to be pushing down in front of this recent cold snap!

Gossip:Local reports of more gadwall and wigeon arriving along with a few flights of cranes here and there.


Name:Andrew Schlueter


Location:Seward, NE

Weather:25/11 10+ MPH (NW),

Snow Cover: Minimal

Water Conditions: Normal

Feeding Conditions: Beans are out. Some corn is still in, but most all crops are out. 

Species and Numbers:Geese are feeding twice a day.  A lot are feeding in bean fields, others in corn. More birds moving in every day. 

Migrations:A lot of new birds came in with this recent storm. 

Season Stage:In season

Hunting Report: The recent influx of birds is a nice change.  Hopefully this is not the only push we get for the year. 

Gossip:Nothing at this time.


Name:Bill Schaefer


Location:Grand Junction, Colorado

Weather:Cooler fall temperatures have pushed into the area this past week. Lows have been in the upper 20’s and highs in the mid-50’s and low 60’s.  Mostly local geese remain in the area with some migrating mallards as well.  This week’s forecast calls for a storm system to bring cooler temperatures, wind, and precipitation.  This combined with a nearly full (waning) moon should set the stage for migrating birds.   

Snow Cover: None

Water Conditions: The Colorado River in the western Colorado corridor is flowing at normal fall levels. Current temperatures are not cold enough to produce any ice on ponds, lakes, or the river which leaves birds spread out on multiple available water sources. 

Feeding Conditions: The fall harvest is beginning and most farmers have finished the cutting of alfalfa and are switching their efforts to the corn fields.  More corn is being harvested each week and birds are primarily feeding in the mornings and loafing the remainder of the day before returning to the evening roost.  With generally mild temperatures, birds seem to only need to feed once per day.

Species and Numbers:Currently, mallards and Canada geese are the primary species around with some wigeon observed as well. 

Migrations:Some of the birds in the area are resident birds with influxes of new migrators weekly. The coming full moon and cooler temperatures north should continue to bring new birds. 

Season Stage:Currently we are in the second week of what is still early season. The “official” season opener (or 2nd split) for the Pacific Flyway was November 2nd

Hunting Report: Week two of the season produced some decent hunting conditions as mallards are prevalent in the area. Cooler temps in the morning are settling in with some consistency driving the birds to feed.

Gossip:Nothing at this time.


Name: Lance Ohnmacht               

Date: 11/11/14

Location: Hutchinson, KS

Weather: What a difference a day can make! Near 70 yesterday and below freezing today! 10 day forecast has highs from the low 30’s to high 40s and lows in the teens. Not many chances at moisture either. 

Snow Cover: NA

Water Conditions: Fair on public but not much water on private lands without pumping.

Feeding Conditions: Moist soil plants had a good summer and most places should have good feed conditions for early migrants. All harvest of crops is near complete. A fair amount of waste corn sprouted and grew; it will be interesting to see how long geese will stay in a field. 

Species and Numbers: Numbers are low. Judging from other’s reports I’m afraid the big push is still states away.  

Migrations: With the kind of front that passed through I would have hoped to see any birds, but I have yet to see any real solid signs of migration.

Season Stage: Canada goose season will start again 11/12/14. Speck and snow seasons are open as well as early and late duck zones. Sandhill crane opened November 5th.  Pheasant and quail seasons have opened.  

Hunting Report: Pressure is the story, with no real migration and lots of people hunting the birds are few and far between right now. Most reports from the weekend had a few birds stirring around early then finding refuge fast. 

Gossip: Don’t blink… Things are going to happen fast.


Name: Nick Lisec


Location: Kansas City, Kansas

Weather:Mid 40’s to lows the upper 20’s.

Snow Cover: None

Water Conditions: We are looking good now but with the colder weather coming some of the shallow marshes may freeze up slightly.

Feeding Conditions: Beans and corn are all getting harvested as quickly as possible.

Species and Numbers: Puddle ducks will be showing up soon.

Migrations: Much colder weather is on the horizon.  The next few days should really turn things on.

Season Stage: We’ve been open for a few weeks now with the best hunting yet ahead.

Hunting Report: Good to average success has been had by most hunters. 

Gossip: Scouting is the key to success.


Name: Dallas W. Branch

Date: 11.08.2014

Location: Morrison, OK

Weather:Strong winds coming out of the north 17mph with 30 mph gusts.

Snow Cover: N/A

Water Conditions: Lakes in the area are at normal levels.

Feeding Conditions: Winter wheat is doing well with the most recent rainfall.

Species and Numbers: All low numbers on puddle ducks.  Few geese are in the area.

Migrations: The recent cold front on Saturday brought birds into the area.

Puddle ducks have moved into the area. 

Season Stage: Season is open

Hunting Report: Low number of hunters and low numbers of geese and ducks.

Gossip: Little success with hunters,  heard my first migration of snows moving south.


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