I've only been hunting ducks for two years now in SW New Jersey, and have experienced two completely opposite duck seasons. My 10-11 campaign moved to more mallard hunting than anything else by the start of the second season(november 15ish). Everything was frozen and the only water that was open was tidal waters and flowing streams. I favored the small mostly fresh tidal creeks in wide open expanses of winding water and mud flats and would shoot nothing but mallards, blacks, and the occasional diver. These late season spots don't produce till a freeze over.
Last year, every piece of water imaginable, even a mud puddle, stayed open all year. I was able to hunt shallow brushy/cat tail waters and take mallards, but also was fortunate to have widgeon, gaddies, pinnies, ringnecks, teal, etc. all the way into the last day of the year.
I guess my question is... why do only mallards stick around for the freeze ups? And if the gaddies, widgeon, and pintail are around all season through, where should I look for them? Because they aren't where I'm hunting during late season