The season that wasn't

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The season that wasn't

Postby KO » Sat Nov 20, 2004 5:44 pm

3 days left of the MN waterfowl season. It will go down as the worst I've seen in 37 years of hunting. Talked to 100's of hunters who agree. Yet the USFWS allowed a 60 day season and 6 bird limit. Talked to hunters from Canada who state they have never seen so few birds. Talked to others who state the DAkotas had only a couple of good days. I heard an un-named biologist state that we will always have ducks to look at, but not enough to hunt. He isn't far off. I just spent the last week in the best fall waterfowl areas of western Mn. 1000's of geese, swans. Ducks? I was impressed when I saw about 500 rafted on the National wildlife refuge. Checked 2 other great duck refuges, same story, geese, no ducks. The bottom line is this, the USFWS is doing a horendous job in managing the continents duck population. Hunters need to speak up and do it soon and loud to the usfws and their state and local politicians before it's too late. I for one have parked to rig and am done paying 15.00 for a stamp. I'll continue to buy my state stamps, but I can no longer justify killing ducks. You'd think in 2004 we could do better. Apparently not
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Postby Cobra » Sat Nov 20, 2004 7:46 pm

I'm with you KO, worst season in my 35 years at it. Have not even shot at a duck in 12 trips, yet have Canadian geese landing in the rig virtually every trip and we can't shoot them here. Our problem is not with the alledged James Bay population passing by from Canada, just to be shot at by Kerry in Ohio, it's that all our local nesting areas have either been taken over by the geese, dried up by farmers irrigating or are the drainage ponds for the new subdivisions or malls (and the geese nest in them). We used to have BW Teal, Redheads, Ringnecks, Coots and Buffies breed locally, now you rarely see any. The Mallards live in the parks inside the city limits and rarely come out. Our local Canadian goose population is way, way, way out of control and the governing agencies don't seem to care that there are very few ducks around anymore. Have until 12/5 on ducks here, unless we get a front coming in I believe it may be over, then again the darn geese and swans tend to chase migrant ducks out so they don't stay very long if at all anyway.
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Postby ks_waterfowler » Sat Nov 20, 2004 8:08 pm

They flew right by you. Arkansas hunters haven't seen all the birds there now in many years. We had 3000 roosting where we hunted yesterday afternoon. Maybe a bad year for you, but this is my best year in 10 years of hunting.
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Postby Greg Wile » Sat Nov 20, 2004 10:10 pm

Here in N.S. we seem to have more Canadas than ever but since the second week of the season the ducks have all but vanished from the areas we hunt and some of the other hunters from other areas say the same. We had very little water in any of the swamps and shallow ponds all summer but there seemed to be good numbers of nesting ducks and local geese right up until the second week of the season. Maybe it will get better before the season closes Dec.31/04.

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Postby ol' yeller » Sat Nov 20, 2004 10:52 pm

From where I sit in my little corner of Arkansas it seems the 60 and 6 season is well justified. There are about 1,000 sitting in front of one of our blinds. Today was the first day of the season, so I may change my mind after week or two.

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Postby quackkiller » Sat Nov 20, 2004 11:24 pm

I've been keeping up with the weather the last month or two and It's not he shortage of birds, it is the weather. There's plenty of birds, I'm seeing em every day. The thing is, it hasnt' been cold enough in Canada for the big push to happen. It hasn't even hardly snowed up there yet. So why would the ducks come down here? theres no point if the water is open and they have food up there. As much as I really am ready for season to open down here in a week, I kind of wish it would hold off for another 2 or 3 weeks because it seems like the biggest push of ducks always happens after season closes. I wish our season dates would get moved back a few weeks next year. It would make for better hunting.
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Postby PharmD10 » Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:07 am

I'm with you. Season starts in another 6 days for us here in TN, but it doesnt matter, because the high on that day is going to be 60 degrees. If we could just hold off opening day for another couple of weeks, it might actually be "cool" by then and starting to get cold. Last year we didnt kill ducks until the end of season in January. Its outrageous how much we all pay for licenses and stamps and what not just to sit around for most of the season because there arent any ducks. What ducks that are here, are on the refuges eating on the 10' tall mound of shell corn the game wardens just dumped out of a dump truck(or at least thats the case where I hunt).
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Postby Cobra » Sun Nov 21, 2004 10:38 am

We busted skim ice 2 weeks ago and nothing around. Local populations are basically gone and we have to buy a state stamp with the money supposedly used to enhance habitat, right, it's all used on the state managed areas that are pure choas to be in or near. We haved urged the state to start the season later but they don't care listen. Flight birds will come, all at once, during our last weekend as usual.
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Postby KO » Sun Nov 21, 2004 2:50 pm

My suggestion to my fellow southern hunters is to view what you see as the rest of the continents population. Let's face it, your at the end of the flyway. I can tell you this, I live in the western part of MN...typically good nesting territory.....there were no birds all summer long on most of our wetlands.....they just aren't here.....you are lucky that even on the worst year...the birds from the northern parts of North America come to your doorstep........but if your my age...think back 10 or more years and ask yourself if there are more or less birds.........They aren't in the numbers they were even 5 years ago, much less 10 or more.......
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Postby vanvo » Sun Nov 21, 2004 3:41 pm

ive hunted waterfowl for only three years and this year ive never seen some many duck in our area. there has also been a large number of geese in the area also
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Postby h2ofwlr » Sun Nov 21, 2004 8:23 pm

I too have been hunting 37 years now KO, so I feel for you. And I too have seen the least amount of ducks in 15 years time, and I get around and have more than a few contacts who have said the same thing--"where are the ducks?" I have done OK, averaging 3 ducks per outing. For example yesterday--I had 3 lone mallards and 1 flock of 14 come into my spread of 8 dz SMags decoys. For late season open water hunting, that is terrible when on average I have flocks coming into the decoys and usually 1 flock of 50+. Very poor on the overall numbers of ducks seen.

It is my opinion that the USFWS has over stated the duck population by at least 20% more than what is actually there. ND and SD are having terrrible years too.
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Postby twoscoots » Sun Nov 21, 2004 9:05 pm

oh my......if what your saying is true then our season for the big birds may already be over!!!!!!!!!!! I just told a friend sat. that I wished that the season would open in mid to late dec. so that we could make use of the weather/birds. He commented that if we did that, by the end of the season we would probally be shooting birds that had already paired up! I had'nt thought of that . If you guys up north are not seeing the ducks yet then we folks in the south may only get to see em' after the season has been out! :thumbsdown:
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Postby mallardhunter » Sun Nov 21, 2004 9:10 pm

I had a great season it was the best since I started hunting. I think my friends would agree. It was the first time hunting in a field and it is worth it.
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Postby Hunten E Guy » Sun Nov 21, 2004 10:17 pm

I dont think there is gunna be a big push for mn this year, i think it is over, the little ponds have frozen and thawed a couple times this year already, i have only hunted for about 8 years now, but i hunt ed every weekend of every season with my dad, and this is the least amount of birds in mn we have ever seen
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Postby zx2dxz » Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:48 pm

I agree 100% there are NO ducks in MN, this had to be one of the worst hunting seasons in the past 5 years ive been hunting. Im only 18 but i get out there more then most hunters i scout more then most, but there are no ducks here in south central mn. There tons of geese but this year has been one of the hardest ive seen to pattern geese coming out of town. Out of hunts i went on there was only one good hunt were we bagged 18 ducks between us: 4 mallards, 7 BW teal, 1 GW teal, 1 woody, 4 widgeons and a goose. Other then that i went out many of times and got skunked for ducks. I with KO something has got to change......

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Postby Pete-pec » Thu Nov 25, 2004 2:36 pm

I too live in the upper mid-west, (Wisconsin) and have to agree with my neighbors directly to the East and West. My buddy and I guide locally and hunt at least 45 of the 60 day season. This year to date, we have shot only 292 ducks. This number includes ALL the people shooting in our blinds, which usually includes 2 guides and 1 to 4 clients. We have noticed a larger variety of ducks, but they're not in large flocks, and many times they are with multiple species, as if they are looking for safety in numbers. The season ends here Dec. 5th as well, and we are going to get a cold push from the north Thursday night into Friday morning, so we'll see what happens on Friday. I would love to see the season start later and run until late December. The fact remains that there aren't as many ducks as the "good ole' days", and global warming has changed the fall migration. I would love to see the USFWS address this and change season dates and/or possibly change the harvest numbers, after all it's very rare that we actually ever take our 6 bird limit. Like stated in some of the previous posts, the goose population is way out of control, and if you don't have the fields in the "local park flyway", you're just not going to get them. Hell in this area the geese don't even migrate any farther south than where we're located in southern Wisconsin. By the way I looked back in our harvest logs and we were nearly 100 birds better last year, and last year we had a major drought in this area. So far this has been the worst year in my records. I hope this isn't a trend. Wings cupped, Pete
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