Pacific Waterfowl Migration Reports

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Name: David Harper

Location: Twin Falls, Idaho

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: We experienced cold winter weather much sooner than normal this year it seemed. We were hit early around Thanksgiving with cold temps and snow, than started a roller coaster of weather pattern for the rest of the season. We would have weeks of bitter cold and then have an upswing where things would melt and it would rain making it difficult to pattern birds at all really for any extended period.

Winter Snow Summary: Large amounts of snow early that slowly melted as the season progressed.

Season Water Conditions: Most water, with the exception of the Snake River, froze up hard the beginning of December and stayed that way until the end. Some moving water opened back up right towards the end of season but for the most part we were pretty well locked up.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions were great this year, with the early wet weather and snow, the farmers were not able to get everything knocked down until around Christmas. This allowed birds to almost always be finding a fresh field every other week.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Duck numbers I would say were about the same as they usually are, the refuge seem to fill up early this year though and hold the birds a lot longer than normal.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Goose numbers seem to be up for both light and dark geese. Guys did great early on white geese and even specks, late season there were a pile of Canada geese around.

Notable Duck Migrations: Nothing out of the ordinary.

Notable Goose Migrations: Large amounts seem to just show up in December, it was pretty nice.

Overall Hunting Report: Hunting was very good for most guys this year, getting the birds early made it tough towards the end because they were getting stale. But on the flip side, for anyone who would do some homework and get out hunting hard, they had a long time to be in the birds. Seem to be a great season for anyone who made it out.

Name: Rob Friedel

Location: Hooper, UT

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Early freeze before Thanksgiving made for a crazy year, followed by 50 degree weather in December.

Winter Snow Summary: Utah actually had a great year for snow totals in the mountains, which we hope, will continue throughout the rest of the winter. For the most part, along the huntable Wasatch Front, there have really never been more than 3 or 4 inches at a time covering.

Season Water Conditions: The Great Salt Lake actually had an increase of 7.5” in depth over the course of the hunting season. That however, just brought it up to a level equal to the previous year. Some of the WMAs and refuges were late in getting water due to vegetation control and maintenance which could have dampened some hunting in the early part of the season.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Conditions were average for the year. Ducks on the Great Salt Lake continued to get their fill of brine shrimp which was in good supply. Some areas had great sego pond grass, while others were not as prosperous from the early low water. Geese made the best of both worlds as the private fields kept food during the snow and freezing weather, the warming trends brought lots of grasses available on the shallow flows.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Reports say average, I would say slightly lower.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: I would say average to above average. Lots of geese continue to “urbanize” even after “de-urbanizing”

Notable Duck Migrations: A huge migration of ducks was documented and seen over the Thanksgiving weekend. Unfortunately they were all leaving instead of showing up. When the cold weather arrived so early, any birds on the way south really had no reason to stop.

Notable Goose Migrations: December actually had a good influx of birds. We never really lost birds in mass, it seemed they changed local flight patterns but didn’t make a mass exodus.

Overall Hunting Report: Overall the 2010 season was in one word “WEIRD!” Not great, definitely not bad, just WEIRD! We had a great season chasing swans, early ducks were good, and you could always find birds to kill. This year’s weather made for challenging conditions early. Normally the ice is not a problem, the problems come when lots of birds leave, the rest are concentrated, than the weather warms and splits the smaller group up again. Being outdoors and hunting with great friends and family will always make for good times. The success can’t be measured by bag limits but by memories. My good friend and 11 year old son both killed collared swans, to take off the bucket list, snow geese killed in the fall here, and lots of new people introduced to the sport. Any year you get to hunt is a great one! Hope everyone has had a great season in one way or another!

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