Name: David Ortley
Date: December 03, 2013
Location: Kalispell, Montana
Weather: What a difference a little winter can make! The past week was warm and rainy. Twenty four hours ago we were hit with a winter storm that brought snow, lows into the mid-teens and winds from the north. Small bodies of water froze and the birds headed to the open water. The forecast is for more of the same with lows into the single digits and highs only into the upper teens.
Snow Cover: We have a thin layer of snow across the entire valley. The mountains have received snow throughout the week.
Water Conditions: It rained off and on over the entire week saturating the ground. Snow flurries began late yesterday. The river is quite low with exposed sand bars and structure.
Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions remained optimal until the snow hit. During the week the rain thawed winter wheat sprouts providing great forage. The snow depth is minimal so fields will continue to provide decent feed for the time being. While small bodies of water are frozen, the river provides a good source of vegetation.
Species and Numbers: Numbers appeared to drop dramatically over the week. However, the cold front and north wind brought new birds overnight. We have seen an increase in the number of mallards, pintail, golden eye, and Canada geese. The most dramatic increase has been the number of geese moving into the area.
Migrations: As indicated the migration improved with the bad weather. The mallards are fresh and decoy well. There are massive flocks of geese moving up and down the river valley. Prior to arrival of the new birds an increase in the number of golden eye and bufflehead was observed. We had an influx of new birds a week and a half a go, mostly big mallards!
Season Stage: This is the start of the tenth week of our season.
Hunting Report: Hunting has been poor leading up to the weather event. Today was outstanding! A four person limit included mallards and pintail. Hunting should continue to improve over the next few days.
Gossip: The general big game season is now closed. The rut kicked in late and the overall harvest is reported to be slightly up over the average.
Name: Kirk Steffensen
Location: Lincoln, NE
Weather: Unseasonably warm, the past couple day's highs have been in the upper 50's to lower 60's with overnight lows around freezing. However, a low pressure system is moving through and will cause daytime highs to be in 20's with 20+ mph north winds. No precipitation forecasted here.
Snow Cover: None
Water Conditions: Mostly open water again but will quickly freeze after this front pushes through.
Feeding Conditions: Harvest is completed and all fields are open.
Species and Numbers: Fair number of ducks (mainly mallards) in the area with increasing number of dark geese.
Migrations: Nothing noteworthy the past week.
Season Stage: Duck – Zones 2 and 4 open till December 17th. Zone 3 open till January 4th. Goose – The east zone is open till early February.
Hunting Report: Slow, birds are flying late with the warm weather.
Gossip: Nothing at this time.
Name: Jared Shepard
Location: Scottsbluff, NE
Weather: This past week's temps were again mild with high's in the 50's and lows in the upper 20's to lower 30's; however, the forecast for this coming week is calling for brutal cold.
Snow Cover: We currently have a trace of snow on the ground with more expected throughout the night.
Water Conditions: Water levels remain at an average level. Shallow ponds remain frozen with more freezing expected over the next 5-7 days.
Feeding Conditions: Plenty of corn, beans, alfalfa and wheat located just under the snow.
Species and Numbers: Mallards and wigeon predominantly with a few teal and wood ducks still left in the area. I have also seen quite a few pintail recently. Lots of geese in the area including cacklers, lesser and greaters. We have not yet reached peak migration.
Migrations: Saw some new geese moving in this morning right in front of the cold front but no new ducks in the past week.
Season Stage: Almost half way through waterfowl season.
Hunting Report: Excellent! Reports of full duck and goose limits daily.
Gossip: Both the duck and goose hunting have been really good lately!
Name: Dallas W. Branch
Location: Morrison, OK
Weather: Warmer weather than earlier in the week. Foggy in the morning clearing to blue skies. Highs -50's, lows in the upper 30's.
Snow Cover: N/A
Water Conditions: Sooner Lake water levels are normal.
Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions are fair in the area. Winter wheat is doing well.
Species and Numbers: Duck numbers are fair and goose numbers are low.
Migrations: Recent cold fronts have brought more birds into the area.
Season Stage: Waterfowl season is closed at the moment and in the split. Waterfowl season resumes December 14th for the area.
Hunting Report: Hunter participation is higher on the weekends. Hunter success is fair.
Gossip: November was a cooler month than normal and December is supposed to be worse.
Name: David Williams
Location: Choctaw, OK
Weather: Strong cold front blows through tomorrow morning dropping daytime highs into the 20's and 30's for a five to six day period.
Snow Cover: None
Water Conditions: Water conditions are fair, but we're due for a good shot of rain.
Feeding Conditions: Milo and beans are currently being cut. Winter wheat is in. Geese are feeding on chiseled corn.
Species and Numbers: All species of ducks are here.
Migrations: Last week's strong cold front provided a significant push of mallards and lesser Canadas.
Season Stage: All duck and goose seasons are closed statewide for the season split.
Hunting Report: Improved hunting following last week's cold front.
Gossip: The first of two seasons in Oklahoma was much improved from the past couple years.