Waterfowl Migration Reports — Central

Avery Outdoors takes a look at Waterfowl migration reports.

January 15, 2015

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Name:  Tailor Sponcey         

Date: 1-12-15

Location: Twin Falls

Weather: Temperatures were very cold last week but have risen to the mid 30’s.

Snow Cover: 2 inches of snow accumulation

Water Conditions: Most small ponds and tributaries of the Snake River are frozen so birds are concentrated to the river.

Feeding Conditions: Feed fields are mostly being used by geese but ducks have been feeding in the river for the most part.

Species and Numbers: Mallard, widgeon, and diver numbers are high as well as Canada geese.

Migrations: All migrator’s have arrived but the cold snap from the holiday week has pushed out some mallards.

Season Stage: 2 weeks left of the general season.

Hunting Report: Hunting has been moderate on private land but public access is slow.

 

Name:  Vance Stolz

Date:1-13-15

Location:Johnstown Colorado (Northern Front Range)

Weather:Our weather here along the Front Range of Colorado has generally stayed cold with several small cold fronts bringing light to moderate snow over the past few weeks. The next 5-7 days is calling for a significant warm up with highs in the 50’s and no precipitation.

Snow Cover: 1-3 inches of new snow on the ground depending on location.

Water Conditions: Nearly all ponds and lakes are frozen. River systems are partially frozen depending on size.

Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions are improving; most areas have snow cover ranging from a trace to 3 inches.   

Species and Numbers: Plenty of Mallards and Dark Geese in the area although they are certainly concentrated due to limited open water.   

Migrations: Moderate migration of geese with the most recent cold fronts.

Season Stage:Duck season will now remain open until January 25th. Goose remains open until February 15th.

Hunting Report:  The goose hunting has improved in most areas now that the birds are beginning to spread out somewhat. Over the past few weeks, most birds seemed to have moved to the river corridors and into town making hunting difficult for many. The ducks have actually been feeding in cattle feedlots recently, but now are beginning to get back in the corn. With this upcoming warm-up, the birds should begin to push out in more areas giving more hunters opportunity. 

Gossip: It’s been tough hunting for many since Christmas, but it seems we’ve made a turn in the right direction. The birds are beginning to spread out more and need to feed. For those with access close to urban areas or near river systems, the hunting has been consistent. Now that the weather is beginning to moderate, more hunters should be having good success. The good news is we have plenty of birds here along the Front Range and plenty of season left!

 

Name:Bill Schaefer

Date:1/11/15

Location:Western Colorado

Weather: A week of snow and bitter cold during Christmas and New Year’s was broken by several days of highs in the 40’s and 50’s. This broke a general pattern of geese which had mostly been flying late and feeding throughout the day. This week has brought daytime temps in the 40’s and a decent amount of rainfall, with temperatures too mild to produce snow. Most bodies of water froze solid during the end of December and the majority of waterfowl have resorted to roosting on the Colorado River.  This week’s forecast shows no sign of significant temperature drops or further precipitation.   

Snow Cover: None

Water Conditions: Smaller bodies of water are completely frozen with medium/large bodies mostly frozen. Warmer daytime temps have allowed for some thawing on these larger bodies. Colder temps have produced some ice flows and build-up on the Colorado River.  Canada geese seem to be primarily roosting on the river at night and certain groups will loaf on ice or any open water on larger lakes/ponds during the day.  

Feeding Conditions: Some corn continues to be harvested each week and is plentiful this year for feeding mallards and Canada geese. With the later season here, and generally colder daily temps, most geese are feeding throughout the middle of the day, before returning to the evening roost.  Many birds are grazing on different diet including: corn, alfalfa, and winter wheat.  Ducks seem to be focusing feeding efforts primarily in the evenings, depending on weather conditions that day.

Species and Numbers:This year’s largest concentration of Canada geese are currently here with numbers locally estimated at approximately 3 – 5 thousand.

Migrations: The recent cold period of snow and single digit daily high temperatures did not seem to affect overall goose numbers as food sources remained readily available.  Another recent influx of Canada geese has been observed with an increase in temperatures and melting of snow cover.    

Season Stage: Currently we are in the late season.  With the second week of January here, two more weeks of the season remain.  Hunting looks optimistic going forward due to mild temps, open water, plenty of food sources, and good bird numbers.    

Hunting Report: Warming conditions have allowed birds to fly earlier and feed throughout the day, sometimes twice daily.  Geese seem especially accustomed to feeding throughout the whole day during overcast, snowy, or rainy days.  Decoying birds has been difficult on still days but periodic wind and overcast conditions have helped much.  Geese seem to be feeding in an array of food sources depending on availability and weather conditions but hunting in corn has produced good results.  

Gossip:?

 

Name: Travis Madden                      

Date:1/13/15

Location: Orem, Utah

Weather: Weather has warmed back up from last week. Highs in the 40’s and lows in the 20’s. Been getting rain the last day or 2

Snow Cover: 2-3 inches on the ground

Water Conditions: Water is frozen

Feeding Conditions: Fields are gonna be the main source right now.

Species and Numbers: Pretty much the normal for this time of year. Mallards, green wing teal, spoonbills and divers.

Migrations: Pretty much on the tail end and about as good as we are gonna get for the year.

Season Stage: Season is down to the last week!

Hunting Report: Hunting has been steady if you put your time in, scout and find the birds.                   

Gossip: Ice fishing season is upon us!

Name:  David Ortley

Date: January 13, 2015

Location: Kalispell, Montana

Weather:  What a week it has been.  Over the past week we received an additional 4 inches of snow bringing the total for the period to an average of 30 inches.  The temperatures have hovered around the mid twenties during the day and only dropping into the upper teens at night.  As a result, the snow as stayed intact on everything from trees to buildings.  The forecast is for gradual warming with additional flurries off and on.  The good news is we are expected to see some sunshine!  Once it gets above freezing we will undoubtedly see flooding unless it warms very slowly.

Snow Cover:  We have a fairly uniform depth of 30 inches close to the mountains and at least 24 inches on the inner valley floor.  The mountains have received several feet of snow and continue to receive snow.  Fields are covered and not accessible to the birds that are left.

Water Conditions:  The River is running slow and low but will see an increase in volume once we start to see some warming.   

Feeding Conditions:  Feeding conditions remain bleak.  Even deer are finding it difficult to access stubble and forage. 

Species and Numbers:  Local birds remain but the harsh conditions drove most birds out.  We still have divers in the area.

Migrations: There has not been a noticeable migration in the past week.  Birds remain in the area but they have decreased in number over the past week and a half.  We may see a few lingering geese come through but it is over for the most part.   

Season Stage: This is the start of the fifteenth and final week of our season. 

Hunting Report: Hunting is still reported to be hard but birds can be had.  The birds here are very weary and educated.  Only a few die-hard hunters are still at it.   

Gossip:  The snow remains the topic of conversation.  We get most of our snow in February and March so it looks like we will have a wet spring if we receive even average snow between now and spring.  Hopefully that means great nesting conditions. 

 

Name:David Harper

Date:1/11/15

Location:Twin Falls, Idaho

Weather: Lately the weather has been a roller coaster. We had warmed up close to daytime temps of 50 degrees and have now seen a drop to high temperatures in the mid 30’s and have about 6 inches of snow on the north side of the Magic Valley and at least a couple inches most everywhere else. Some forecasts show rain and temps above 40 coming meaning we may be muddy for the last week of season.   

Snow Cover: 4-6 inches in most places across the valley with the exception being places in the Snake River Canyon.

Water Conditions: Most still water is frozen with a few small places staying open due to birds or various conditions. Parts of the Hagerman refuge have also frozen.  

Feeding Conditions: Many fields are still holding a significant amount of food but are now snow covered. The snow is still soft and allowing birds to access food underneath.

Species and Numbers:Mallard species are still high with an increase in pintail and wigeon numbers. Diver numbers seem to have decreased after this last cold front as well as some numbers of Canada geese in areas. I think two weeks ago were our highest bird numbers this season.

Migrations: We gained some new birds riding the edge of the storm front but we also had a lot push out. Good to get some fresh birds in but lost more than we gained.    

Season Stage: 8 days left of hunting for Canada geese and ducks then on to specks and snows next month.    

Hunting Report: Changing weather conditions have made the birds difficult to pattern but guys are still getting good hunts to come together with some homework. Birds are call shy and decoy shy so it is certainly time to implement late season tactics in order to fill your bag. 

 

Name:Kirk Steffensen

Date:January 14, 2015

Location:Lincoln, NE

Weather:Unseasonable warm weather is forecasted through the weekend with daytime highs in the mid-to-upper 40’s and overnight lows around freezing. 

Snow Cover: A little remaining but not much.

Water Conditions: Everything is frozen and frozen hard, ice fishermen hitting area lakes and ponds with report of 10 to 12 inches.

Feeding Conditions: Good, all fields are open with the little amounts of snow.

Species and Numbers:Fair number of geese in the area and everything is aggregated up.

Migrations:Nothing notable.

Season Stage:Duck season closed in the eastern half of the state.  Goose seasons are open statewide.

Hunting Report:Good, birds are starting to pattern a little more consistently.

 

Name:Jared Shepard       

Date:01/13/15

Location:Scottsbluff, NE

Weather:Warm weather is on the way! Temps this week are expected to reach the mid 40’s with overnight lows down in the upper teens. 

Snow Cover: We currently have 8-10 inches of snow on the ground.

Water Conditions: The water level is stable in the river and at a good depth and speed for hunting. The river is flowing smoothly!

Feeding Conditions: Lots of corn, beans and alfalfa are available for the ducks and geese. Hopefully they won’t have to dig through the snow much longer to get it.

Species and Numbers:Duck and goose numbers are really starting to strengthen around here! We are still below the norm for overall numbers but due to some snowmelt and warmer weather we are starting to see more birds.

Migrations: Ducks and geese have been observed moving back into the area from the south and east over the past few days.

Season Stage:12 days remain in duck season and just under a month left to hunt dark geese. Light goose season is closed but will reopen January 24th.

Hunting Report: The goose hunting report remains stable. Duck hunting is improving drastically.

Gossip:Lots of talk about the one box shoot last weekend and more talk about ducks arriving back in the area.


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