Data Suggests More Young Ducks Shot Last Season

Thanks to the duck wings and goose tails submitted to the USFWS Parts Collection Survey by waterfowlers across the country, researchers are able to approximate the size, species composition and age structure of the hunter-harvest. The data is also used to draw important conclusions about duck production during the previous breeding season.

When hunters bag a high ratio of young ducks, it indicates good duck production. And this year's preliminary data suggests that, as predicted, duck production was quite strong last spring.

John Devney, Delta Waterfowl's Director of U.S. Policy, explains on his blog:

Age ratios are considered good when they are above 1.0, meaning juveniles are more abundant than adults. Mallard age ratios ranged from 1.26 in the Atlantic, 1.88 in the Mississippi, 1.51 in the Central and 2.41 in the Pacific.

The age ratios of mallards bagged in the Mississippi, Central and Pacific flyways all exceed their five-year averages. The Atlantic is just below its average. According to Devney, other prairie-nesting ducks mirror that trend, with gadwalls, pintails, blue-wing teal, redheads and canvasbacks all generally exceeding their five-year average age ratios.

Did you notice a higher percentage of young birds in your bag last year?

I note juveniles and adult birds in my journal (admittedly it's sometimes an educated guess), but the only trend I noticed last year was how few birds I shot. Thank you very much, La Nina.

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1 Response to Data Suggests More Young Ducks Shot Last Season

Coleman wrote:
April 10, 2012

The only thing I noticed was how few birds I shot as well!