In North Dakota, the state game and fish department estimated 71,500 birds statewide, including 52,700 Canada geese and 18,700 mallards in January. That’s less than half of the 160,000 ducks and geese counted in January 2013, and a fraction of the record 279,000 tallied in 2012 — a year with an exceptionally mild winter.
Southern hunters experienced a great season, according to Delta reports.
Here’s a snapshot of survey results from wintering areas:
• West Virginia: Midwinter duck numbers were 67 percent higher than 2013, and 123 percent higher than the 10-year average. Canada goose numbers trended similarly, with a 7 percent increase over last year, and 40 percent above the long-term average.
• Arkansas: In the Delta, 927,000 ducks were estimated, 807,000 of which were mallards. The January number is double that of 2013, and the second highest mallard count in five years. Southwest Arkansas had 36,000 ducks, more than 18,000 of which were mallards. Populations increased in the Arkansas River valley, too, with an estimated 61,000 ducks.
• North Carolina: Of the 660,000 waterfowl counted — 28 percent higher than last year and 71 percent above the long-term average — almost half a million were ducks. Although snow geese numbers decreased from 2013, Canada geese and tundra swan estimates increased by 31 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
If you have a small child, use it as a shield!