Season Summary: Updated February 4, 2016
Name: Will Harvey
Location: Glenwood, MN
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Warm fall again. Crops were out; everything was lined up perfectly and just never got the weather to move birds until the end of the season again.
Winter Snow Summary: Haven’t had any real good snow falls this year. We’ve gotten a few 3-4” snowfall totals, but a lot has melted off again.
Season Water Conditions: Water conditions were low, below average.
Overall Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions were great for most of the season, just no birds here to feed!
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Extremely low
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Extremely low
Notable Duck Migrations: The only notable one that comes to my mind here was most of the locals bugging out before duck opener.
Notable Goose Migrations: We had a couple good goose migrations, but most of our migrations were huge blows, and had a lot of blow-overs.
Overall Hunting Report: Poor and extremely frustrating. Lots of truck time spent searching the skies, and not finding a whole lot to try for. Really only a couple notable hunts for the entire season.
Name: Ben Cade
Location: Buffalo, MN
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: We had an early exit of local birds just before season when a cold front pushed through near the end of the summer. An abnormally warm fall followed that with no notable cold snaps or snow until the end of the season.
Winter Snow Summary: No snow during the regular waterfowl season. We had only several days of snow cover at the end of our goose season in December.
Season Water Conditions: Wetlands were full and water was unfrozen the entire season.
Overall Feeding Conditions: Good as farmers were able to get a jump start on harvest in most areas.
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Down from previous years in my area.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Average to below average.
Notable Duck Migrations: Migration was mostly by calendar as very few major weather events occurred during the season.
Notable Goose Migrations: We had good molt migrants early in the season with several notable days of heavy goose flights.
Overall Hunting Report: It was hit and miss in my area. Those lucky enough to get on good feed fields were having success. For those who rely on major flight days, it was very difficult most of the season.
Name: Richard Shamla
Location: Clara City, MN
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: This season it was warm and mild later into the season. This seems more of a trend every year delaying migration later and later.
Winter Snow Summary: Very minimal snowfall this year and above average temperatures.
Season Water Conditions: Water levels were low this season. With low snow fall, the levels should be low going into next year.
Overall Feeding Conditions: Harvest was early and there was plenty of feed in the fields but we lacked the migration.
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: In this area the migration seems to be less every year.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Much like the duck migration, the goose numbers seem to going down in number every year. This push came when severe cold and snow arrived pushing geese right through the area.
Notable Duck Migrations: In mid to late October we had a notable push of divers puddle ducks other than mallards. In late November we had a noticeable numbers of mallards come into the area.
Notable Goose Migrations: Goose numbers were low until early November and when we got new arrivals the numbers were never very high. Late season snow and cold again pushed birds out of the refuge when the best number might have arrived giving us only a few days of good hunting.
Overall Hunting Report: The seasons have been trending down for about the last five years. Early seasons are good followed by little migration after the local birds have been displaced.
Name: Greg Owens
Location: Winona, MN
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: This season the pintail came through very early. They were in and out the first week of October and the DNR wrote a bunch of tickets to guys who were over limit on them. It was a very good season for us, but the weather was very warm all the way through the season. A month after the season closed we still had open water here and the ducks were THICK!
Winter Snow Summary: Very little snow this year.
Season Water Conditions: Low water conditions for most of the season
Overall Feeding Conditions: EXCELLENT!
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Above normal. But the timing of the migration was really messed up.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: About normal
Notable Duck Migrations: The pintail came through the week that it was shut down here for the split. The mallards showed up after the season ended.
Notable Goose Migrations: They just kept pushing through. The peak of the migration was early to mid-November.
Overall Hunting Report: It was a fun season. But I didn’t want to see it come to an end.
Name: Tyler Huettenrauch
Location: Greenleaf, Wisconsin
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: This season was considerably different from past seasons. The biggest being the weather patterns throughout the season. The weather was noticeably warmer longer and took longer than normal for it to get cold up in Canada. The snow and freeze line was high up in Canada most of our season and did not start getting real cold until the season was already over
Winter Snow Summary: Throughout the season there was next to no snow cover making it for a different late season than normal.
Season Water Conditions: Water conditions fluctuated constantly throughout the season with heavy rainfalls and water drying up towards the end of the season.
Overall Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions throughout the season were quite normal as any other year. Primarily on bean and wheat fields until later in the season once corn was taken off. Early season birds were feeding twice a day at first and last light. Later season was hard to pattern geese and ducks in terms of figuring out when they were going to feed. Most days geese were traveling from water to water in the morning and on fields in the afternoon right before last light.
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Early season duck numbers were about average compared to previous years. But with small cold snaps, and birds naturally moving out of the area, numbers fell extremely low. The second half of the season was extremely tough with minimal ducks migrating into the area from the north.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Overall goose numbers were slightly lower than past years with a very minimal migration just like ducks but, thankfully to local birds sticking around in the area, numbers remained constant for limits to be harvested.
Notable Duck Migrations: There was never an extensive push of ducks into the area but small numbers moved with cold snaps and high north winds
Notable Goose Migrations: Notable goose migrations were similar to duck migrations.
Overall Hunting Report: This year was a hard one for me especially with hunting a new area along with it being an overall warm hunting season. But it did make for an exceptional season for meeting new people and capturing the moment with friends and family.
Name: Gerry Mazur
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: A most unusual weather season in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. We had tremendous winds from the outer edges of the storms that traveled up the east coast during the late summer and fall. The annual youth hunt that I mentor with Jeff Teeter from Webbed Connection was canceled late that morning do to the unsafe conditions on Rondeau Bay along the north shores of Lake Erie. We did have the prizes and education the night before but it was tough with the high winds. Actually 3 trips that I had planned were canceled because of the dangerous conditions due to gale force winds.
Winter Snow Summary: We have only had a few snow storms with nothing to brag about. Our totals have been down this year. One storm only dumped about 3 inches of powder and we have had an inch or two on 2 occasions. Still is funny to see grass in January and February.
Season Water Conditions: Overall they Army Corp of Engineers say our levels have increased slightly this year. It is very dependent on amounts to see a difference to the eye in river and lake levels. Strong southwest winds can make a huge difference in the lakeshore and rivers here to the point you can’t get out. Public launches can really take a beating in these winds making them mud flats. We did have 3 hunters get stuck in the bay due to a wind change during the morning.
Overall Feeding Conditions: There has been plenty of food in the area. Corn and beans are the majority along with wheat. Food has been exposed for almost the entire season with the little snow cover. Our harvest here is sometimes 2 to 3 weeks behind southern Ontario across the lake so birds really don’t have a hard time eating and stay put longer.
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Overall numbers that we saw here were way down. Birds on the lake were in pockets but not to a great degree. The 2 major Federal refuges along the coast of Lake Erie, Ottawa and Magee had low numbers of birds all year. The public hunts certainly reflected those harvest numbers.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Plenty of locals this year with a decent hatch. Again I sound like a broken record with this but there are just too many places in the city for the birds to hang out. All the industrial parks along with big box stores have water and land adjacent to the shopping creating their own refuges.
Notable Duck Migrations: Only one decent pass through in mid-November to see a difference around here. Right now as of this writing is the most birds in the area of course right after the season closes.
Notable Goose Migrations: There never was a good one. There was a build-up of geese just to the south of Toledo but nothing huge.
Overall Hunting Report: Talking to a lot of hunters they all were disappointed with the season. Low numbers and poor weather had a huge impact on the lack of opportunity. Resting stops along the lake never had the numbers. Leased land for hunting is at an all-time low along the once prestigious Rt 2 corridor. A lousy year has passed and hoping next year is better.
Name: Justin Bomia
Location: Onslow, Iowa
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Warm trend really delayed migrations this past year. Warm temps kept ducks and geese held up in local refuges with no reason to leave.
Winter Snow Summary: There was not much snow this year, mostly after duck season had closed. 4 to 6 inches was the most snow cover in this area.
Season Water Conditions: Water levels were normal to high most of the season.
Overall Feeding Conditions: Fair to good all season with snow cover late.
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Similar numbers, possibly down a little bit.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Down a little from the last couple years harvest of Canada geese.
Notable Duck Migrations: 2 good pushes throughout the season, with a trickle migration also helping out.
Notable Goose Migrations: Steady in this part of the state with movement down the Mississippi River.
Overall Hunting Report: Had a good season, and had a lot of fun. Good hunts on the fronts with northwest winds like normal years. Harvest numbers of ducks and geese were down just a touch.
Name: Kip Strickland
Location: Baxter, Iowa
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: We had an extremely warm season for the most part, which in turn held up our migrations typical of our duck season.
Winter Snow Summary: Snow has come late in the goose season, and seems to be less than most years.
Season Water Conditions: This season’s water levels were extremely high for normal fall levels.
Overall Feeding Conditions: Moist soil conditions were poor this season. Dry-field conditions were normal.
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Low
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Average to low
Notable Duck Migrations: Not any to speak of for this part of the state.
Notable Goose Migrations: One major migration noted once extreme cold penetrated the state in January.
Overall Hunting Report: This season was one of my worst on record for Iowa as well as the states I travel to hunt. Warm temperatures coupled with an abundance of water and a lack of migration made hunting pretty tough.
Name: Brandon Geweke
Location: Antioch, Illinois
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Our weather for the overall season was very mild. We typically start to freeze up in the later part of November, which forced the birds to stage on larger water and tend to feed harder in a more concentrated area.
Winter Snow Summary: Total snow accumulations over the season were way down. We may have seen 10 inches total and it did not stick around long.
Season Water Conditions: Low compared to previous years.
Overall Feeding Conditions: This season our staging numbers of honkers was higher than I have ever seen. But they typically only fed in the mornings. We only had a hand full of good shoots in the afternoon. I believe it was to the mild temps that weren’t driving them to feed.
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: During season our duck numbers were down. Our locals moved out early and we never saw a good number of migrators come into the area. Normally if the fields and smaller lakes are not holding birds we can always go to Lake Michigan and or Fox River but neither was holding a fraction of birds that normally stage there.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Goose numbers have been extremely high for our area. Had our best early/regular goose season to date.
Notable Duck Migrations: Ducks were late to arrive.
Notable Goose Migrations: The overall migration was unreal for honkers this season. From the early season molting migrators, mid-season lesser, to the late season giants. There was a constant flow of birds year round.
Overall Hunting Report: Overall it was a good year. The majority of hunters in the area hunt potholes and water, so with the poor duck numbers it seemed like the majority of guys were dissatisfied. But being a field hunter I think we may have had 1 or 2 hunts were we did not shoot our geese. We managed to always shoot some ducks but only having a handful of great mallard shoots out of the field this season. We had to make our trips to North Dakota to get our great field ducks shoot in before season close.
Name: Shaun Patrick
Location: Troy, MO
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Because of the El Nino year, we experienced higher than average temps, with higher than average rainfall during the season.
Winter Snow Summary: Almost none to speak of, maybe 6” total for the year.
Season Water Conditions: Water stayed open for a large portion of the season, however, with the amount of rain we had ducks were spread out because of numerous fields filled with flash water. At the end of the season we experienced record flooding in our area.
Overall Feeding Conditions: Food conditions in the area were not near as good as in years past. A late summer flood killed off any grain crops in the bottoms, and it was then a scramble to manage for moist soil vegetation
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Reports showed that duck numbers in the area were consistent with previous years, but a majority of our ducks figured out quickly where they could go to stay away from hunting areas. Also most of the ducks we had never left the major refuge just to the north of us.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: With the warm temps, goose numbers were much lower than normal.
Notable Duck Migrations: There was never a major migration day to speak of. It seemed like much of the migration was a trickle of a few new ducks into the area here and there.
Notable Goose Migrations: None to speak of.
Overall Hunting Report: Hunting this season was much slower than it has been recently. It was tough sledding most days, with scratching a few out here and there with a couple of big shoots mixed in. I would give this season a C- in terms of overall hunter success in our area.
Name: Jay Hayter
Location: El Dorado, AR
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: It was a very wet winter coupled with mild temperatures.
Winter Snow Summary: None
Season Water Conditions: Excessively high, the area rivers were all out of their banks for most of the season. The Mississippi River flooded everything else.
Overall Feeding Conditions: Fair
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Extremely low, ducks came with fronts but they were never here in large numbers.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: About the same, specks arrived early with snows moving in slowly.
Notable Duck Migrations: There never was that classic big push of birds following a major front as in years past.
Notable Goose Migrations: Same scenario, never a huge move.
Overall Hunting Report: Poor is a kind word for this season. We never even had the “should have been here yesterday” hunts. Because it was just as slow yesterday!
Name: John Gordon
Location: Chatham, Mississippi
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: It was the warmest winter in the last ten years, maybe twenty. We didn’t get below freezing until January!
Winter Snow Summary: Just a small amount one day.
Season Water Conditions: Very high, the lack of snow and heavy rains in the Midwest turned the Mississippi River from a lazy old man into a raging beast. There was too much water overall in all parts of the Delta.
Overall Feeding Conditions: There was plenty of waste grains and vegetation for the ducks and geese all season available for feeding.
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Low, most of the ducks never really came this far south. There were pockets of high numbers but nothing widespread.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Low as well, the snow geese usually arrive in the Tunica area in heavy numbers by Thanksgiving every year. They didn’t show up until January and then in much smaller groups than before.
Notable Duck Migrations: Some ducks early but the majority didn’t come down until mid-January.
Notable Goose Migrations: Same story as the ducks.
Overall Hunting Report: Everyone I know had a down year in Mississippi. Lack of birds, high water, warm temperatures, none of it was good for the hunting.
Name: Jacob Bailes
Location: Columbia, Louisiana
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Only received 4 frosts the entire hunting season with temperatures averaging in the mid-60s and the lowest temperature all season was 25.
Winter Snow Summary: N/A
Season Water Conditions: The season started with relative norm water conditions early then mid-season we received tons of rain so flood waters quickly spread the few birds to the four corners of the world!
Overall Feeding Conditions: Prime but with very few birds to eat it.
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Fowl numbers down tremendously in the state of Louisiana worst season I have ever had! Normally average 3200 ducks/geese per season, harvested 1300 total this season.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Absolutely depressing! Only a couple weeks through the whole season were there any geese to speak of!
Notable Duck Migrations: The first 2 weeks of January were most certainly the best weeks of duck migration.
Notable Goose Migrations: They never got here.
Overall Hunting Report: Hunted 59 days out of our 60 days season, harvesting 1323 birds. Had some great hunts but so far from the normal I can’t even begin to describe. the pain of staring into empty skies day in and day out, having to make excuses to clients every day is something that in 12 years of professional waterfowl guiding I personally have never experienced. I pray next season is back to normal.
Name: Jessica Cobb
Location: Leesville, Louisiana
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Hardly any cold fronts to push down new birds. El Nino L
Winter Snow Summary: N/A
Season Water Conditions: Early flooding led to too much water for most of the season, if not all. Birds could go just about anywhere they wanted.
Overall Feeding Conditions: Good
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Low
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Fair
Notable Duck Migrations: Not much, the ducks were scarce all season.
Notable Goose Migrations: Thankful for the specks, they really saved our hunting.
Overall Hunting Report: Slow season for us Louisiana duck hunters. Around Thanksgiving and New Years were our best pushes of birds. We had to travel north to Arkansas for better luck mid-January. Duck numbers were down. If not for the geese our season would have been pretty boring.
Name: Nick Patin
Location: Sunset, LA
Notable Weather Changes/Differences This Season: Warmer and wetter than any year in the past ten. A bad combination for the Deep South.
Winter Snow Summary: None
Season Water Conditions: Plentiful, too much especially in the coast.
Overall Feeding Conditions: Fair
Duck Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Down 40-50%, we never received a major push. They seemed to trickle in over the season.
Goose Numbers Compared to Previous Years: Down 40-50% as well. The specks and snows were around but never in big numbers.
Notable Duck Migrations: Very few good migrations only a couple flight days and they weren’t how they should have been.
Notable Goose Migrations: Same as the ducks.
Overall Hunting Report: Below average, fair at best. We all struggled to have consistent hunts; most were poor compared to years past.