SK is down as is AB while MB is up. The crucial area is central SK--it was dry there in May.
Also the CA geese had a disaster on the breeding grounds--no spring weather--cold/snowy and it is still cold up in Hudson Bay region which means reduced limits on migrating CA geese in MS flyway. This may also mean a Snow geese will be effected too.
Here is an article on it in MN:
Outdoors Almanac: Waterfowlers get mixed news
Doug Smith, Star Tribune
June 27, 2004 ONOT0627
There's good news and bad news for Minnesota waterfowl hunters.
The good news: Despite dry conditions earlier this spring, mallard numbers were stable or up slightly and blue-wing teal numbers were way up, according to the Department of Natural Resources spring breeding population survey.
"In a nutshell, duck numbers were good," said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist.
The bad news: An extremely late spring in Canada's far north likely was a disaster for goose production, especially Eastern Prairie Population (EPP) Canada geese. Because that goose population is in jeopardy and migrates through Minnesota, hunters here could face new goose hunting restrictions, Cordts said.
Reducing the harvest of EPP geese could result in an unintended reduction in the harvest of the state's giant Canada geese, which are plentiful. That could increase crop depredations for farmers.
Meanwhile, Minnesota's mallard population was estimated at 375,000 ducks, up 34 percent from last year. But Cordts said the estimate was more variable this spring, meaning the apparent increase isn't statistically significant.
However, blue-winged teal were estimated at 353,000 -- up a significant 83 percent from 2003. The "other duck" category, including wood ducks, ringnecks and gadwalls, was up 13 percent to 280,000. The total state duck population, excluding scaup, was about 1 million.
A dry spring left pond counts down 19 percent, but then rains came, filling wetlands. That should help both waterfowl and waterfowl hunters.
"It certainly will help mallards that are re-nesting and will dramatically improve brood habitat," Cordts said. "I would suspect we'll have good numbers of ducks around on the opener."
N.D. duck numbers up
North Dakota's 2004 spring breeding duck index was the third highest on record, despite a 16 percent decrease in available water areas. The May survey showed an index of more than 4.3 million birds, 113 percent above the 1948-2003 average and 9 percent higher than last year.
The spring nesting period in 2004 has definitely be the latest and coldest on record. Unusually heavy snow pack and delayed snow melt has meant that many geese that would normally be nesting in this region of the Hudson Bay Lowlands have been forced to abandon the idea of nesting for 2004.
Researchers arriving at camp on June 7 found snow still drifted over the 9 foot high polar bear fence that surrounds the camp. For those few geese that did arrive on this portion of the breeding grounds in early June, there just were not any areas free of snow to build a nest. Temperatures slightly above 0° C slowed the melting process to the point that geese attempting to nest were at least three weeks later than normal. Production of young will be very limited this year, causing great concern for managers right down the flyway.
Despite the poor nesting effort this spring, the banding program for 2004 will go ahead on schedule. Banders will likely spend more time this year flying and searching for flocks of productive geese. For the winners of the Delta banding trip, this will be a great opportunity to see the arctic with its magnificent and abundant wildlife as well as getting some hands on experience with banding. Good luck!
"Based on this year's survey results of 8.36 million midcontinent mallards (traditional survey area plus MN, WI, and MI), 2.51 million ponds in prairie Canada, and 1.11 million eastern mallards, the optimal regulatory choice for all four Flyways is the liberal alternative."
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