Mississippi Waterfowl Migration Reports

October 11, 2010
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Name: Ryan Kleinschmidt

Location: Sauk Centre, MN

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: We didn’t receive the nearly as much moisture during the season as we did the year before but temps seemed to drop earlier resulting in an earlier freeze up.

Winter Snow Summary: We had plenty of snow this year during the later portion of the season.

Season Water Conditions: Water conditions were good for the most part. In fact, I think we had too much water in some areas going into the season which made for tough hunting.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions were pretty consistent through out most of the season until things started to freeze up.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: There were decent numbers of ducks before the season opened. As the season progressed, we never really built up to good huntable numbers.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: The goose season was average in the area. Numbers were comparable to the past couple seasons.

Notable Duck Migrations: I never really noticed a huge push of ducks into the area; it seemed like a slow trickle all season.

Notable Goose Migrations: There were a few good goose migration days and the hunting action was good during those days.

Overall Hunting Report: I would say it was another average at best season for our area this year.

Name: Ben Cade

Location: Buffalo, MN

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: We had a fairly wet fall which left crops standing in flooded fields in some areas. These spots did hold mallards very well for most of the season. We did freeze up earlier than normal which left very little options for late season goose hunting in December.

Winter Snow Summary: So far, we have had about five feet of snow for the winter. Many areas are predicting substantial river flooding this spring.

Season Water Conditions: Excellent. All area lakes, rivers and wetlands were full for a good part of the season. Sheet water was available in many area fields.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Good, many area fields were down for a good part of the season, however heavy snow cover forced birds out of the area earlier than usual this year.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Duck numbers were average to above average over recent years.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Goose numbers were below average compared to recent years.

Notable Duck Migrations: Nothing too significant. We did have several minor migrations with each cold snap.

Notable Goose Migrations: Only major migration I experienced was towards the end of our season when the food was getting buried with snow and cold temps were setting in. I witnessed a lot of birds come through the area, but not stop long.

Overall Hunting Report: Overall, duck hunting was pretty good throughout our area. Goose hunting was average to below average for many guys.

Name: Greg Owens

Location: Rochester, MN

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Last year we had a cold front come through in early Oct. that moved many birds out. It stayed cold and very wet here all month while it was warm up north of us. This year was more of a normal year. We were warm here while they got hit by a few storms north of us. The ducks staged here nicely!

Winter Snow Summary: We had very heavy snow event in the beginning of December that pushed most of the geese out.

Season Water Conditions: Very high water for the beginning of the season.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Very good through the season until the fields got covered with three feet of snow.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Duck numbers were very good.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: The geese just started showing up in good numbers when the snow pushed them out.

Notable Duck Migrations: We were covered up with canvasbacks, mallards and pintail for a good portion of the season.

Notable Goose Migrations: They came in around Thanksgiving and left about a week and a half later.

Overall Hunting Report: We had a great season! The kids and I never had a bad hunt this year! It was great watching them shoot their limits on various outings this season.

Name: Eric Wolf

Location: Waconia, Minnesota

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: It was a fairly average year for weather. October was warm for the first part which didn’t help the duck hunting much.

Winter Snow Summary: We have had a total of over 60” of snow this winter, which is considerably more than we had the past few years.

Season Water Conditions: Water conditions were good, we had a wet summer and water levels were high. Lakes froze up late November/early December.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions were good. There were plenty of corn fields for birds to feed in all season long and most birds were gone before the snow covered the feed.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: The number of ducks seen this year was lower than previous years.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Goose numbers were down a bit from the last 6 years or so, but there was still plenty of birds to hunt.

Notable Duck Migrations: Most of the migration occurred early on in November.

Notable Goose Migrations: There were a few times this season that the birds piled up on the bigger lakes and people had great success when the birds were here.

Overall Hunting Report: Goose hunting around these parts was about average. A lot of guys had good success, while duck hunting was hit or miss all season long.

Name: Kevin Kriha

Location: Montgomery, MN

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Had a cold snap in early October that really changed things up. And then as our season ended we got pounded with snow and froze up quickly making our late season goose hunting nonexistent.

Winter Snow Summary: A lot more than I like. I think we are somewhere around 60” or so.

Season Water Conditions: Very good.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Decent for most of the year.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: I think our duck numbers were better than previous years.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Early season was still not as good as it has been but regular season showed average numbers.

Notable Duck Migrations: Had a lot of birds leave with the October cold snap.

Notable Goose Migrations: Seen a lot of birds moving during our first big snowstorm.

Overall Hunting Report: Overall I think it was a decent year. I had the opportunity to hunt with some old friends and some great new people. Learned a few things along the way this season also and took my first trip down to the river to hunt. We shot a few ducks/geese along the way and I have a lot of great memories form the season. All in all, it was a great season and I can’t wait to see what next year will bring. Hope everyone has a great year and will talk to you in the fall.

Name: Russell Brzezinski

Location: Berkley, Michigan

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: “Typical” weather pattern for the most part. Though it started out warm, but when it got cold, it got real cold…fast! Then a warm-up would be followed by another dip in temperatures.

Winter Snow Summary: Accumulation so far exceeds normal winters. In fact, we’re due to receive an additional 15” tonight. If so, it will put us on track to easily surpass recent records.

Season Water Conditions: Near perfect. There was always open water of some type to get on and chase some ducks.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Good as well. Lots of grain crops available in the fields and large numbers of divers on the big water (so I have to assume wild celery was ample).

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: I would say duck numbers were down over years past in terms of harvest, but I’d also say that we were wintering more birds as well this year.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Goose was typical to above average. The geese seemed to treat Michigan hunters here very well throughout the length of the season

Notable Duck Migrations: End of October. The faucet turned on for the big water! Huge flights of divers made it down and a large portion stayed. I think we’re wintering more and more canvasbacks every year.

Notable Goose Migrations: Two that come to mind; molt migrants coming in during mid-September. Surprisingly, the last weekend of the early season was as good to being much better than the opener! Lots of birds. The second would be Thanksgiving. Seemed like a lot of new birds in the area – and they decoyed readily!

Overall Hunting Report: Personally, I’d characterize the season as being typical to slightly above average for myself. In speaking with a number of hunters, they thought the duck hunting was tougher in SE Michigan, but that the geese made up for it. This thought would probably be reinforced by the harvest data at our managed areas. They reported average to slightly below average duck kill with geese being above average.

Name: San Sasse

Location: Midland, Michigan

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: This years weather difference is that we did not receive cold weather until the season was about over. Canada was pretty warm most of our season slowing the migration down. When we did receive some sort of migration the ducks would just keep flying south and would not even stop. Duck hunting was very slow as we were working with the same old birds that were here in September.

Winter Snow Summary: We had very little snow at the very tail end of our duck and goose season. We did not start receiving cold temperatures until the very end of our duck season. When we finally had some new ducks show up. Canada geese started showing up in mid October and we kept receiving new birds daily into mid November.

Season Water Conditions: We received a good amount of rainfall in the spring making nesting very good. Throughout the summer months and into fall we received very limited rainfall causing all the potholes to dry up and rivers becoming very low. The Saginaw Bay was below average for the season as well. We received some rain during the fall but it was not enough to raise water levels for the usual spots the ducks and geese frequent for loafing spots or roosting areas.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions were good this year with all the crops coming off early, but the downside to this was the farmers had too much time on there hand and started tilling everything under making it hard for the birds to find feed. The main food sources were winter wheat, soybeans, and what corn stubble fields you could find. The birds were very hard to pattern as you could not find them in the usual spots from recent years.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: We had a good amount of ducks during the youth hunt held in September and when our duck season began in October. The ducks got very educated very fast and knew when shooting hours began and ended. With the unseasonably warm and clear days the ducks would not fly until well past shooting hours making it difficult to get on birds daily. As the season progressed we would pick up a few Northern birds here and there. With the warmer temperatures north of us the ducks had no reason to leave until things started to freeze up and when it did the ducks would keep trucking to the south.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: The early goose numbers were down from last year with just a few locals hanging around. When the October season came we started picking up migratory birds daily until mid- November. At one time there were easily 5,000 Canada’s around with that being the usual around these parts.

Notable Duck Migrations: We really never had a good push of migrating ducks in our region. They would trickle in little by little. Most of the ducks that did migrate through would not even stop, they would just keep southbound. What duck numbers I saw around where I live showed up with only 1 week left in our season.

Notable Goose Migrations: We had a good amount of Canada geese in early October and as the season progressed we would pick more up daily through November. We did have some snows hang out for a while with the Canadas and even a few eagle heads. The biggest push occurred late October with very educated birds showing up.

Overall Hunting Report: Overall I would rate this season as fair from years past. The September early goose season was poor with very few locals hanging around as the majority headed north. October ducks was poor as we were hunting very stale ducks the whole season. Goose season was very slow also as the geese we had around were very, very educated! With the unseasonably warmer temps this fall, it was very hard to pattern ducks and geese as they would fly very late and just mill around with no need or urgency to feed.

Name: Sean Hager

Location: Port Clinton, OH

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: The most notable weather changes this season were in late November we had a strong cold snap and it stayed clod for the remainder of our season. The cold weather caused most of the water to freeze fast and push most of the birds out of here and any migrating birds over flew us.

Winter Snow Summary: We didn't get very much snow this season until after most of the season was over. But we did get Very cold weather and wind for a long period of time. Once it got cold it never really warmed up which pushed most of our birds out.

Season Water Conditions: Overall we had a pretty wet beginning of the season. And through most of the season we had good water everywhere. But also the fields had a good harvest and where dry enough for the farmers to get all their crops off in plenty of time for the birds.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Overall most of the farmers had a good weather and crop turnout. There was a good amount of rain for the crops to grow and dried up enough for them to harvest on time.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: This season compared to previous years I think that the duck numbers were down this year. It seems like the past few years the number of ducks coming through our area is less and less.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: This year’s goose numbers seemed to be pretty close to the past few years. For some reason it seems like the geese numbers are staying up but the duck numbers are dropping every year.

Notable Duck Migrations: The only real good duck migration was early in the season but after that there really wasn't a very steady migration.

Notable Goose Migrations: There was a good migration of Canadas in early December and we saw another decent group of migrating birds hitting the fields in early January.

Overall Hunting Report: Overall I would rate this season fair compared to seasons in the past. This is the third season that we have seen duck numbers declining. We had a good start to the season with a good number of teal and wood ducks. But as the cold weather came it seemed that the mallard numbers never really were where they should have been. November and December had a few good days in them before everything froze solid, but the good days were few and far between.

Name: Stephen Pitt

Location: Jonesboro, AR

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: A lot drier and not nearly as cold compared to last year, definitely below the average. We did have some mornings with ice and even snow 3 times. Seems like we did not have many clear sky days with wind, a lot of days with very little wind.

Winter Snow Summary: In the month of January, we had 3 different snow falls which is very rare for us down here.

Season Water Conditions: Extremely low. We did not get the rain until December, which put a lot of duck hunters in bad shape and was pretty expensive for many hunters to pump in water.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Normal feeding conditions most of the season with the ducks feeding in the rice and bean fields. The last 3 weeks of the season, the ducks moved into the new shallow water to feed in the rice fields.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: We had a lot more ducks in our area compared to last year with a big increase in the number of mallards seen and harvested.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: About normal, the early part of December there was a major push of snows in our area about as many as we have ever seen.

Notable Duck Migrations: There were two different notable migrations, one in early December and one the second week of January.

Notable Goose Migrations: The biggest push of snows, blues, and specks were seen the first week of December.

Overall Hunting Report: The hunters who had water killed ducks but the public land hunters had to struggle to find water and ducks and fight the crowds.

Name: Lamar Boyd

Location: Tunica, MS

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Surprisingly we had a lot of cloudy days and west wind. Late in the year we had big swings in temperature changes. Birds did well through all of it.

Winter Snow Summary: We had three snows that accumulated. Only one big one though….. a whopping 5 inches.

Season Water Conditions: Low water was pretty consistent all year.

Overall Feeding Conditions: I saw more dry feeding this year than I ever have before. That is shocking considering how much fall tillage occurred.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Lots and lots more than in recent years.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: We had more on the farm than I ever remember.

Notable Duck Migrations: From Thanksgiving until the second week of January I saw no less than 2,000 birds a morning, and as many as 10,000 in a morning. And that might only be 2-3 hours of hunting. We had a constant flow of birds with more mallards than ever before.

Notable Goose Migrations: Not sure, I believe they showed up in early December.

Overall Hunting Report: We had our best season ever. We killed about 700 more ducks than our previous record. That consisted of 5 blacks, 4 pintails, countless mallards, gadwall, wigeon, an assortment of other geese and ducks. All of these were killed in a cypress break known for gadwalls and more gadwalls. It was one to remember for sure.

Name: John Gordon

Location: Chatham/Greenwood/Prichard, MS

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Much drier this season than last year which concentrated the ducks on available water. Those with the ability to pump water into fields did well as did those with access to shallow lakes.

Winter Snow Summary: Three different snow events in January, the most in many years.

Season Water Conditions: It finally did rain some in December and January but it was never enough to catch up to normal levels.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions have been good, there is not much left however in areas with water and some ducks have been seen dry feeding. This is highly unusual for the Deep South.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Mississippi had more ducks migrate in this season than the last three years combined. Some folks had record setting harvest totals this year.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: About the same, the snows and specks hit in early December and have been moving back and forth in the Delta since then.

Notable Duck Migrations: We had mallards hit in early December, which is the first time this has happened in many years. Very cold conditions in the Midwest pushed them in when they normally would have stopped in Missouri and Illinois.

Notable Goose Migrations: Early December is historically when they arrive in mass and then the numbers will build slowly depending on the weather after that.

Overall Hunting Report: Overall it was an excellent season for Mississippi. Consistent solid hunts were the norm instead of the exception.