Will This Be the Best Duck Season in a Decade?

Perhaps more than anything else, a successful duck season depends on the weather moving ducks to the right place at the right time. We hope their peak arrival occurs mid-season and they take their time moving farther south.


The timing and strength of fall weather is key; however, a sizeable increase in the overall duck population doesn't hurt either, and that's just what Delta Waterfowl and Ducks Unlimited predict. Check out this map of Canada's spring habitat conditions courtesy of Ducks Unlimited Canada:



It's rather incredible how much habitat is labeled "good" or even "excellent" given the abysmal state of the Canadian prairie. Compare the amount of green and blue on the above map to past maps and it's evident that we could be on the cusp of something special.


Why the change? Due to record soil moisture and a heavy snow pack, one of the wettest springs in recent memory is forecast for the duck factory.





Conditions on the American side of the Prairie Pothole Region, which I'll tour later this month with Delta Waterfowl senior vice president John Devney, are even better.


"You're going to see more ducks packed into a single area than you ever thought possible," Devney told me. "I expect so much water that we'll have to take boats into areas we'd normally walk or drive to. It's been a long, cold winter and the spring thaw has really taken its time getting here, but that's okay; the ducks will just nest a little later. We still predict an outstanding nesting season. It's exciting."


Indeed it is. Will it lead to the best duck harvest since the late 90's? That's really difficult to predict since so many factors affect overall harvest. One thing's for sure: All the duck experts (even those who often disagree), predict a substantial population boost.


UPDATE: Delta Waterfowl has posted aerial photos of southern Manitoba, which is experiencing its wettest spring of the last 300 years. Look at all the water!


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