Pacific Waterfowl Migration Reports

February 1, 2013

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Name: Allen Riggs

Location: Elk, WA

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Warmer weather this year, water levels in the river were higher than usual.

Winter Snow Summary: Snow arrived late, overall an average amount of snowfall.

Season Water Conditions: Water levels in river were higher than usual; water temps were warmer than usual.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Birds were able to feed in fields longer this year due to lack of snow until late in the year.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Duck numbers were relatively low. Usually we see tens of thousands of divers starting in December. This year, low numbers started showing up in January.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Canada goose numbers were a little lower than usual.

Notable Duck Migrations: Migrations were sparse and numbers were low.

Notable Goose Migrations: Goose migrations were sporadic and numbers were low.

Overall Hunting Report: Hunting this year was decent early on but due to a lack of birds, the hunting became poor as the season progressed.


Name: Kent Contreras

Location: Newport, Washington

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: This year’s weather was a bit warmer and we had less snow than previous few years. October was mild with some rain but only a trace of snow. November was mild in the beginning but turned more seasonal at the end with snow flurries in the valley around the Thanksgiving week holidays. December showed us a sign of winter with snow flurries every week and cooler temps. January was typical with a couple of really cold weeks and then back to a normal of high 20’s and lows in the teens. Normal winter like conditions for the most part except for the fact we never had the typical 2 weeks of below zero temperatures and heavy snow showers.

Winter Snow Summary: Snow fall for the winter was lower than average. Most snow showers were for 3-4 inches and we only had one snow storm that produced a heavy amount of snow – 14-16 inches.

Season Water Conditions: Water conditions remained steady for most of the season with freezing temps locking up most still backwaters by the middle of December.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Excellent feeding conditions for the first half of the season then snow fall finished off the fields by mid-December.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Beginning of the season we had tons of ducks – way up from normal numbers, but by the end of December the puddle duck numbers dropped. Diver numbers were average for the year.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Goose numbers stayed average for the season.

Notable Duck Migrations: Big push of birds around the middle of December out of the area. Diver migration into the area occurred around the end of December.

Notable Goose Migrations: Geese didn’t move into the area until late December-early January.

Overall Hunting Report: This year started out with huge numbers of ducks harvested as well as a few different species. For my first time ever – blue- winged teal were harvested and we saw more pintails in the early part of the season than ever before. Green-winged teal were also heavy in the area for the first part of the season. Mallards and wigeon were thick all season giving us plenty of opportunities to limit out on a daily basis. One species not so prevalent in the area was gadwall. We finally hit a few flocks late but the gaddies stayed away for the most part. By late December the divers moved into the area on queue. Goose numbers remained steady for the season with an occasional influx of new birds to the area about twice a month. We saw a lot of lesser Canada geese and even a few snows and specks (virtually unheard of for this area). We must have had a few pushes of these birds from surrounding flyways or they just got mixed in with the bigger flocks of Canada’s. Overall, this year’s hunting season was excellent. We saw more birds and had only 1 day of not getting anything at all (torrential downpour cutting the day short). Harvest numbers on ducks were way up – 1.5 times the amount from last season but goose harvest numbers stayed average.


Name: David Harper

Location: Twin Falls, Idaho

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: The tail end of this season ended up being much more winter-like than we have had for a few years. With temps dipping below zero for multiple weeks and repeated snow showers, we experienced a winter more similar to how it should be. The last few seasons it has stayed warm until after the season, then turned cold.

Winter Snow Summary: We had snow stick around for about half of our season but it was never more than 5-6 inches at a time and stayed relatively soft so the birds were able to still get through it in the fields.

Season Water Conditions: Until about the middle of the season, the water was in abundance around the valley and in great condition until the freeze which left only the Snake River and few smaller waters open.

Overall Feeding Conditions: As always in our area, the birds never got close running out of food with large amounts of both corn and winter wheat in the area.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Duck numbers were about the same as previous years, but with the big freeze up of water and cold temps the birds became much more concentrated this season compared to past seasons.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: We finished the season with more geese then I have seen here in awhile. But a lot of that was because they work into the valley as the eastern part of the state starts to get too much snow and ice.

Notable Duck Migrations: Right around Thanksgiving we gained a major amount of ducks and it never slowed down after that.

Notable Goose Migrations: Early in the season we experienced a greater number of snows and specks moving through the valley which was great to see.

Overall Hunting Report: This was a fantastic season for most everyone around. Even late season a lot of guys were still getting out and doing very well. I think that the weather this season helped everyone and made it a very good season for every waterfowler in the area.


Name: Chad Yamane

Location: Syracuse, Utah

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Season was very warm and mild and ice up was later than normal.

Winter Snow Summary: We received very little snow during the regular season.

Season Water Conditions: Lack of water in our refuges and impoundments over the summer meant no food for the ducks.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Overall very poor production of pond weed and other sources of food for our waterfowl.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: I would say we had and average year but after last years awesome season it was much poorer.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Goose numbers are average and will continue to be with our huge local population.

Notable Duck Migrations: About the first week in December we had a huge push of birds just up and leave with no others filling their spot.

Notable Goose Migrations: Nothing notable

Overall Hunting Report: Hunting this year was fair overall. You would have days of limits and then turn around the next day and shoot a couple. It was hard to put a pattern on them. Our swan season was good early, very early and then they continued to migrate due to lack of food. We never peaked above 25k swans this year, which a normal year is 40-50k swans. Once ice up came the birds became easier to hunt and more predictable, had some extremely good hunts on the ice.


Name: Travis Lyle

Location: Fernley, Nevada

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Had a better winter this season, about normal. We had a big freeze at the end of December that made it a little harder to find ducks.

Winter Snow Summary: Got a good snow pack this year. Most of it stayed in the mountains.

Season Water Conditions: Levels were low do to last season snow pack, had to work to get ducks.

Overall Feeding Conditions: We had lots of feed out there for the birds. Lot of sago, wigeon grass, and corn for the birds.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: For the hunting area’s the bird numbers were down. Never saw the big numbers from a few years ago.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Never witnessed the big numbers of geese all season. About the same as last year.

Notable Duck Migrations: It never seemed like we got any more birds. It always seemed as if we’re shooting the same birds all year long, didn’t get a big push.

Notable Goose Migrations: Snows were here around the same time as always. The honkers never really showed up until the end of the season. The last day we saw a few hundred, which in my area is a lot.

Overall Hunting Report: It wasn’t bad if you did your homework. It was for me one of my best seasons but for others, not so good. Swans were here in big numbers, and the teal were my #1 duck. The geese never seemed to work for me, but we’re having our first late snow goose hunt this year.