Season Summary: Updated February 6, 2017

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Name: Ben Cade

Location: Alexandria, Minnesota

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: We had what I would say a “normal” fall with periodic migrations and no early blast of wintery weather to push birds out before season. The result was a nice consistent flight of new birds periodically which translated to some good hunting.

Winter Snow Summary: We had one good blizzard during the hunting season which did bring on a big push of birds following the snow.

Season Water Conditions: Good to excellent. Started the season with many areas of sheet water for birds to feed. There was a lot of success early in the season in flooded corn. In some cases, that carried through the entire duck season for those lucky enough to be on good private flooded fields.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Excellent feeding conditions through the entire season.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Numbers were far better than the previous year.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Far better than the previous year.

Notable Duck Migrations: Numerous migrations in October and November provided good hunting.

Notable Goose Migrations: Very good flight days in September and there was a solid push behind the blizzard towards the end of our season.

Overall Hunting Report: Above average to excellent hunting for our group throughout the entire hunting season.

 

Name: Rick Turch

Location: Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Warm weather and very wet. Made migration unpredictable and hard to get into fields.

Winter Snow Summary: Snow did not arrive until late and still have not seen any big amounts.

Season Water Conditions: Water on lakes did not freeze until after the first week of December.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Remained normal throughout the season.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Duck numbers were average or slightly below.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Average.

Notable Duck Migrations: Our biggest push of ducks was around the last week of our season due to the warm weather.

Notable Goose Migrations: Average.

Overall Hunting Report: Hunting was very much hit or miss. As birds came down hunting was good, however, the warm weather made birds stale as once they found safe feeds and loafing areas it was hard to pull them away.

 

Name: Richard Shamla

Location: Clara City, Minnesota

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: This season’s rains created sheet water in fields that had not been wet in about five years. Also, warm weather stayed later into the season causing delayed migration.

Winter Snow Summary: Snow fall has been about average.

Season Water Conditions: Water levels were above average all season.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Flooded corn and bean fields were good all year.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Duck numbers were about the same as the prior years. Most ducks were in masses in flooded field areas this year.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Goose numbers were below average. Great early season with delayed migration. Late-season migration gave decent numbers. Overall I believe our area has been going down in goose numbers the past 10 years.

Notable Duck Migrations: Mid to late October we some divers move in. Mid-November a sizeable number of mallards came into our area.

Notable Goose Migrations: Late November into December we had a good number of geese come in followed by snow and cold. So, the late season push was short as usual.

Overall Hunting Report: Personally, harvests were about the same but we probably hunted less with better hunts. If you had flooded corn you shot ducks otherwise it was a tougher season for traditional good areas of large marshes and rivers. Goose hunting seems to fall into a pattern of good early season and later season. The middle of the season in hit or miss based on fronts.

 

Name: Russell Brzezinski

Location: Berkley, Michigan

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Unseasonably cold early on. then a warm up period, followed by really cold temps to then lose all our snow! It was a strange, inconsistent season to be sure!

Winter Snow Summary: Three to 5 inches.

Season Water Conditions: Open water for most of season.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Fields were in good shape and plentiful condition.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: I thought the numbers seemed down. Not sure if it was real or that maybe most probably blew right through with the odd, early freeze conditions we had here in Michigan.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Goose seemed to be about the same to maybe slightly up.

Notable Duck Migrations: Early on in November and late October, there were two really good pushes of ducks coinciding with strong north winds (tailwind) and dropping temps.

Notable Goose Migrations: None to really speak of. Always seemed to have birds around in typical numbers.

Overall Hunting Report: Rollercoaster, feast or famine setups. Either things were set just right and we hammered them, or it was staring at the sun. Very difficult year to pattern and in being that way, you had to make hay when you could! Hunts were booked or cancelled at a moment’s notice!

 

Name: Gerry Mazur

Location: Toledo, Ohio

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: The most notable weather patterns during the season were the warmer temperatures throughout the bulk of the first half with nothing to trigger any kind of migration. The weather in northwest Ohio is typical for changing in a minute and it did with extreme cold moving in and freezing all waters in marshes, ponds, and the western end of Lake Erie. Even as of this report we have had 60 degree days within the last 5 days.

Winter Snow Summary: Totals are way under for accumulation for this season. We have not had any measurable snow in 30 days. A small front is moving into the area but only 1 to 3 inches expected for the time being.

Season Water Conditions: As is the case around here the levels can be go from one extreme to the other with any west or strong southwest wind. Boat launches take a beating and can go to mud in just a few hours. Rain has produced dangerous and fast levels of moving water on the Maumee River which normally holds a lot of birds and offers great hunting.

Overall Feeding Conditions: The area continues to back up my statement and proof about too many city areas for birds to loaf in. Plenty of grass and water in city limits with major industrial and commercial properties having refuge like areas. Bass Pro just to my south about 12 miles is proof of that and grain terminals.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: My own eyes from a lot of miles put in too many conversations with experienced hunters have all come to the same conclusion, less birds. It is amazing what a difference a few miles make from here at the western end of Maumee Bay compared to the east closer to Sandusky Ohio. Both Federal Refuge areas Ottawa and Magee which lie between those two points experienced low numbers.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Locals really did not establish any big numbers. Places where you would normally see a lot of traffic at sunset barely yielded anything on scouting trips. I had maybe two nights the were notable with geese moving south on full moon nights.

Notable Duck Migrations: The sad part of the next two topics is that what should be a notable size difference in birds was really a small change in numbers. Redheads and mallards and blue-bills were not hitting here in mass.

Notable Goose Migrations: As late as this past weekend the goose traffic along the lake shore and adjoining fields has been next to nothing. Finding multiple hunters out at any given time in fields was next to nothing.

Overall Hunting Report: Locally the season in this area has been a struggle. There is late goose hunting in both Michigan and Ohio until Feb. 11. Hoping it does not get to brutal cold during the last hurrah.

 

Name: Kip Strickland

Location: Baxter, Iowa

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: This season seemed to stay much warmer, as did last season. Major migration weather was hard to come by this season. We had little to no snow cover through most of the season, which is good for dry field hunting, but didn’t have many birds during most of the season.

Winter Snow Summary: Very little snow cover this winter.

Season Water Conditions: Water levels were fair to good all season long.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Poor moist soil feeding conditions, great dry field feeding conditions.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Lower than normal.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Lower than normal, until late season when numbers picked up and were good.

Notable Duck Migrations: Virtually none this season.

Notable Goose Migrations: Late season had two great migrations for dark geese.

Overall Hunting Report: This year, in my assessment, was a below average year for most hunters. Some hunters found pockets of birds and had good success.

 

Name: Justin Bomia

Location: Onslow, Iowa

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Warm most of the season.

Winter Snow Summary: Didn’t have much for snow this season, what we got was soon melted away.

Season Water Conditions: Water was high to start the year but moved back to normal levels before mid-season.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Early harvest this year made for good feeding conditions.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Duck numbers in my area were up slightly.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Good numbers of geese all year in the area. Up a little compared to last year.

Notable Duck Migrations: Small fronts early in the year brought us good hunts in preparation for the late season migrating birds. I saw more small migrations early this year compared to last.

Notable Goose Migrations: Goose migrations seemed to be similar as past years.

Overall Hunting Report: Good year for the most part with ups and downs along the way.

 

Name: Hunter Parrish

Location: Chillicothe, Missouri

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Warm to start. Then switched between extreme cold and mild weather.

Winter Snow Summary:  Very low compared to past years!

Season Water Conditions: Water was lower than last year thanks to no flooding. We had good water levels all season.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Very good. Fields were full of food.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Much lower than last year. It was weird, refuges and WMAs reported good numbers but we never saw them at all.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: We did see more geese this year compared to years past.

Notable Duck Migrations: Didn’t notice many migrations. We had a couple small flight days. Every time we expected a big flight day or migration week, we never saw any.

Notable Goose Migrations: On extreme cold days we saw quite a few geese most of the season.

Overall Hunting Report: Very poor season for us up in north Missouri. We had high hopes, but never saw the birds. Not sure if they stayed north of us, took a different path or what. Hopefully next year is more “normal” weather wise and a better season!

 

Name: Shaun Patrick

Location: Troy, Missouri

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Early in the season was abnormally warm. We went through a good cold snap for about two weeks, which is normal for the area, but warmed back up shortly after.

Winter Snow Summary: Almost no snow this season.

Season Water Conditions: Water conditions were excellent almost all season long.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Great food sources all throughout the area.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: In our area we saw about 50 percent of the ducks that we normally see. Decreased numbers in the area obviously lead to decreased opportunities. During times of our normal peak migration we are seeing upwards of 50,000 birds, this season the most we saw in the bottoms was at max 20,000.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Goose numbers in our area were similar to normal seasons.

Notable Duck Migrations: The only migration of note was the first day of the season. Other than that, we had a very slow small trickle of birds into the area throughout the season.

Notable Goose Migrations: We had several good pushes of Canada geese this season. The most notable was several weeks back with birds pushing back from the south during the thaw.

Overall Hunting Report: Hunting was extremely difficult all season long. This was by far one of the worst seasons I have had for ducks. The recent success with Canada geese has helped incredibly; otherwise it would have been a major bust as well. Now on to the spring conservation order!

 

Name: Jay Hayter

Location: El Dorado, Arkansas

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Warm weather marked with extreme cold spells.

Winter Snow Summary: None.

Season Water Conditions: Gradual increase above normal level, it took the entire season to reach water levels that created favorable conditions in the rivers.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Good — ducks and geese stuck to the rice fields as a primary food source for most of the season. 

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Lower overall but more mallards than last year.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Higher. Specks came in early and continued to build while the snows came in mass in early January.

Notable Duck Migrations: Early December witnessed a big push of ducks.

Notable Goose Migrations: Big cold front that dropped temperatures over 40 degrees in 24 hours sent the snows down by the hundreds of thousands.

Overall Hunting Report: Good, it would have been a lot better if the cold weather had stuck around in January.

 

Name: John Gordon

Location: North Dakota, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas

Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: This has been the toughest weather year for hunting I can remember. It was a roller coaster ride of temperature changes of up to 50 degrees in one day!

Winter Snow Summary: It never snowed anywhere I was at though they did receive quite a bit in North Dakota soon after I hunted there.

Season Water Conditions: It started out very dry and ended up about normal.

Overall Feeding Conditions: Pretty good, birds were using corn in a lot of the places I hunted. Aquatic vegetation was used quite a bit for feeding in central Mississippi.

Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: About the same although there were more mallards around after two major fronts.

Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: A lot more geese were pushed down but most of them turned back north.

Notable Duck Migrations: Two fronts sent temps plummeting and birds down. But warm fronts immediately following had them flowing north. I am sure the birds were confused as to where they needed to be.

Notable Goose Migrations: Early January sent more snows and specks into Mississippi than I have ever seen. But a lot of them are back in northern Missouri and Nebraska at this point.

Overall Hunting Report: I am calling it fair. When the weather was right, the hunting was good.

 


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