Written by Avery Outdoors
Name: Kirk Steffensen
Date: December 23, 2014
Location: Lincoln, NE
Weather: Cool with daytime highs just above freezing with overnight in the 20’s. North/northwest winds forecasted for the next couple days.
Snow Cover: None
Water Conditions: Most waters are open again but will quickly freeze when the wind lays up tonight.
Feeding Conditions: Good, all fields are open.
Species and Numbers: Good number of ducks and geese in the area.
Migrations: Nothing notable.
Season Stage: Duck season closed in the Zone 2 but goose seasons are open statewide.
Hunting Report: Good, birds dispersed with the warmer temperatures which improved duck hunting over water; however, geese are very difficult to pattern and not flying consistently.
Name: Jared Shepard
Location: Scottsbluff, NE
Weather: A slight warm up this past week had temps in the 40’s during the day and 20’s overnight. This coming week calls for highs in the 30’s with overnight lows down to the single digits and high winds expected over the next couple days
Snow Cover: Approximately 3-4 inches of snow remain in the area.
Water Conditions: The water level is stable in the river and at a good depth and speed for hunting. Local ponds remain frozen.
Feeding Conditions: Lots of corn, beans and alfalfa are available for migratory birds but they may have to dig through the snow for a couple more days to get to it.
Species and Numbers: A good number of geese remain in the area but duck numbers are down significantly due to the deep and heavy snow this past week.
Migrations: Unfortunately the only migration we saw this past week was the ducks leaving…
Season Stage: All waterfowl seasons and pheasant season are open! Waterfowl seasons are about at the half way point.
Hunting Report: The goose hunting report remains stable. Duck hunters should pray for a good reverse migration.
Gossip: NO DUCKS!!!
Name: Greg Owens
Date: Dec 23 2014
Location: Rochester, MN
Weather: Lows in the 20’s and highs in the 30’s
Snow Cover: Trace
Water Conditions: Most of the area roost ponds have 5 to 7 inches of ice on them. The rivers through town are open and still holding birds.
Feeding Conditions: The area fields are getting picked over. However, with these warm temps and no snow most of the birds are sitting on grass inside the refuge.
Species and Numbers: Duck and Goose numbers are pretty low right now, but the birds that are here have been here for a while and know the game.
Migrations: We have lost most of the birds in town.
Season Stage: Duck season is over. Geese go on through Jan 5th.
Hunting Report: Geese are getting tougher around town. Most of the birds are staying on grass inside the refuge. The geese that do fly out will play follow the leader and circle waiting for a flock to safely land in a field, then every flock behind them will pour into that field to feed.
Gossip: Ice fishing is really starting to heat up. As far as hunting goes, I wouldn’t bother unless we get weather to make the geese look for corn.
Name: Richard Shamla
Location: Clara City MN
Weather: Daytime highs in the low 30’s with lows in the 20’s. Light snow falling.
Snow Cover: New dusting this morning.
Water Conditions: Most water is frozen except a few spots on the river and lake.
Feeding Conditions: Remaining waterfowl are feeding in the refuge.
Species and Numbers: Couple hundred geese remain on the refuge.
Season Stage: Duck season closed and geese as well.
Hunting Report: No hunting reported for the area.
Gossip: Warm weather lately made the ice conditions bad for the area.
Name: Bill Dougan
Date: December 22, 2014
Location: Cochrane, Alberta
Weather: Temperatures will be ranging from lows of -9 to highs of -3. Mostly sunny for most of the week and light winds.
Snow Cover: Not much snow cover in the areas around Bassano and Brooks, The northern areas have a lot of snow cover.
Water Conditions: A lot of water is now frozen up thru out most of the province still some of the bigger rivers are open such as the Bow River.
Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions are good in areas around Bassano and Brooks areas. Northern areas are covered up in snow.
Species and Numbers: There are still good numbers of geese and ducks in the southern areas around Brooks and Bassano.
Migrations: Still some birds in the southern areas but a lot of birds have moved out of the province.
Season Stage: Our season is no over it opened on September 8 and closed this December 21.
Hunting Report: Hunting waterfowl has now closed for the season. It was a great year in most areas as a lot of birds were harvested thru out the province.
Gossip: Guys are getting excited and are starting to gear up for the new upcoming spring snow goose hunt starting in March 2015
Name: Kent Contreras
Location: Newport, Wa.
Weather: Wet and rainy conditions last week. Temps have been as high as 49 degrees and only bottoming out in the upper 20’s. Forecast show similar pattern for the next week
Snow Cover: Snow continues to fall in the highest elevations but the valley floor remains dry. Occasional frost and icing in the mornings with a slight chance of snow on the valley floor at Christmas
Water Conditions: Water levels continue to fluctuate as the dams release and hold back water
Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions remain good; fields are still open with only a little snow covering shaded areas
Species and Numbers: Nothing more than the birds that came into the area a couple weeks ago. Those that are staying in the area are big Canada geese, divers and some puddle ducks. Biggest population of birds in the area remains to be the geese, although divers are gaining on them
Migrations: Haven’t seen many new birds at all. Only divers are increasing in numbers. Most birds pushed out of the area a few weeks ago
Season Stage: Week 11- coming into the last third of the waterfowl season
Hunting Report: Last week’s mild temperatures may have been enough for the birds to take flight out of here. Some heavy rains occurred late last week and really shut down the hunting. Birds that remain are so decoy and call shy that they are actually doing 90-degree turns to avoid lifeless decoy spreads. They have wizened up enough to know where they can take refuge and stay put for most of the day. Hunting was very poor last weekend and doesn’t look any better until we get some new birds or bad weather
Gossip: Would really like to see some cold weather show up to get the birds moving around a little. We need fresh birds
Name: Allen Riggs
Location: Metaline, WA
Weather: Wet for most of the week with highs in the upper 30s and lows in the upper 20s.
Snow Cover: Snow levels are above 3500 feet
Water Conditions: Water in the Pend Oreille River is cold and the water level is high
Feeding Conditions: Birds are feeding in the local fields and returning to the river to loaf and feed
Species and Numbers: Canada goose numbers are average, puddle duck numbers are lower than average. Diver ducks are beginning to show up in large numbers
Migrations: Canada goose migrations have dwindled; diver ducks are beginning to move
Season Stage: Week 11 of the season.
Hunting Report: Hunters are complaining of low numbers of birds and local birds are very wary
Name: Travis Rowlett
Date: December 22, 2014
Location: Lahontan Valley, Northern Nevada
Weather: The weather has been extremely mild for this time of year. We have had some rain, with temperature highs in the 50’s and lows in the 30’s
Snow Cover: No snow yet
Water Conditions: Water conditions are horrible with no sign of improvement
Feeding Conditions: Horrible – what little food we had has been consumed and the ducks have left
Species and Numbers: Mostly local mallards are left. The numbers are extremely low. Most of the waterfowl has migrated through
Migrations: Most of the population has left due to low water and feeding conditions. Birds are passing us by
Season Stage: Start of the last quarter
Hunting Report: The report is extremely poor – You are lucky to get a bird
Name: Travis Lyle
Location: Western NV
Weather: Mid 50’s for a high, and lows in the mid 30’s
Snow Cover: There is some in the mountains and we got some rain in the valleys but still not even close to what we need. We are still holding out for some wet weather
Water Conditions: Bad. The area’s that have water are holding due to the cooler temps. Still have hope for some wet weather
Feeding Conditions: Its’ the same as the water, little to none. Been seeing some plots of widgeon grass floating around in a few areas
Species and Numbers: Not seeing much at all. Saw only about 20 birds Friday and nothing is moving. Haven’t seen a swan in a month. There are a few snows still here and a mix of ducks, just not many
Migrations: If there is a migration they are passing right by. This is by far the worst season I’ve had
Season Stage: Lots of people are hanging it up with the number of birds. Real tough right now
Hunting Report: Better scout now. And pray
Gossip: If you want birds you better be up first or a bigger than the other fella. “SCOUT”
Name: Travis Madden
Location: Orem, Utah
Weather: Weather is getting cooler and more normal for December
Snow Cover: Little to none depending on location
Water Conditions: Water is open still but with the colder weather we are starting to see ice sheets forming
Feeding Conditions: Fields are still available with little to no snow cover and are being used.
Species and Numbers: Pretty much the normal for this time of year. Mallards, green wing teal, spoonbills and a few divers.
Migrations: Starting to see cooler temps to the north and with it a few birds moving nothing of great significance but we will take it at this point.
Season Stage: Season is on the downward slope now. Get out and enjoy it while you can.
Hunting Report: Hunting has been pretty slow, but with the colder temps I expect to see it get a little better.
Name: Vance Stolz
Location: Johnstown Colorado (Northern Front Range)
Weather: Mild Temp’s with highs in the 40’s and 50’s, Low’s in the 20’s.Our 7-day weather forecast is calling for an unstable weather pattern with a slight chance of snow on Friday and temps ranging from the 40’s to low in the teens.
Snow Cover: No snow cover
Water Conditions: All water systems are open and at above average level.
Feeding Conditions: Plenty of feeding options for the birds including winter wheat, grasses and harvested cornfields.
Species and Numbers: Good numbers of Mallards and dark geese throughout the area, some larger reservoirs holding very significant numbers. Birds are somewhat spread out due to nearly all bodies of water being open and plenty of food sources throughout the area.
Migrations: No significant migrations over the past few weeks
Season Stage: Duck season is open until January 25th and goose will remain until February 15th.
Hunting Report: As always, weather has been playing a major role in the hunting success on both ducks and geese throughout this region. We continue to have very good numbers of birds throughout the area, however the mostly mild weather has kept the birds less active in most areas. The few days we’ve had cold, snow, and wind have made for some very good shoots.
Gossip: This season has been somewhat up and down, but we do have plenty of birds! Weather has been our biggest factor for success. Most hunters have certainly had their share at success as well as some slow days out in the field. Overall, I’d say the season has been about average. The good news is, we still have plenty of season left including what is in many cases the best part…time and weather will tell.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
Name: David Ortley
Date: December 23, 2014
Location: Kalispell, Montana
Weather: As predicted we have enjoyed a week of much warmer weather and melting. Highs have been into the low forties at times and lows in the upper twenties. We have had rain off and on with snow in the upper elevations. The forecast is for a return to normal temperatures with highs in the upper twenties and lows dipping into the upper teens. At this point snow is likely to be light flurries.
Snow Cover: The rain and warm weather has melted most of the snow on the valley floor. The mountains however have been hammered with snow. The ski resorts are open and happy!
Water Conditions: The river continues to run at a slow seasonal low volume. The rain has helped eliminate most of the ice. The fields now have large pockets of water in low areas.
Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions are optimal in fields as the snow is soft and the ground wet. Forage is easily plucked from the ground and grain stubble is exposed.
Species and Numbers: We had a push of birds two days ago. Plenty of mallards and pintail. The number of bufflehead grows also as the late migrators come through. Most notable is the large number of Canada geese in the area.
Migrations: It appears that we have had more geese arrive and definitely had an increase in the number of mallards this week.
Season Stage: This is the start of the twelfth week of our season.
Hunting Report: Hunting in the fields is very good! Water hunts are productive and will improve as the new birds settle in.
Gossip: Hunting pressure has waned. Nonetheless, the few hunters out are getting birds and enjoying mild temperatures.
Name: Tailor Sponcey
Location: Twin Falls
Weather: Temperatures have been mild and it has rained the past three days so ground conditions are very muddy.
Snow Cover: 0 inches of snow accumulation
Water Conditions: Most areas are full except for one pond on Hagerman WMA, fields have standing water in them, which are being used by ducks.
Feeding Conditions: Feed fields are abundant and are being used heavily by mallards and Canada geese.
Species and Numbers: Mallard, widgeon, and diver numbers are high as well as Canada geese.
Migrations: Most migrators have arrived with the exception of pintail.
Season Stage: 2/3 of general season is complete.
Hunting Report: Hunting has been moderate on private land but public access is slow.
Name: David Harper
Location: Twin Falls, Idaho
Weather: Warm temperatures this week with a mild cold front early and a larger one on the way. Some rain showers and wind have passed through the last few days. High temps have been in the mid 40’s to 50 but are expected to drop to near freezing with a chance of some snow. Here’s to hoping.
Snow Cover: No snow cover on the valley floor.
Water Conditions: A lot of water is in the valley right now. The canal companies are working to recharge the aquifer and by doing this most reservoirs are full and canals have water in them as well as some area holding ponds. With warm weather conditions most of these are open with little ice on the edges.
Feeding Conditions: A lot of feed is available in the valley with most every field harvested. With the recent rains, many fields are muddy or have standing water making it a puddle duck paradise for feeding in.
Species and Numbers: More mallards in the Magic Valley than I have seen in years. Wigeon numbers on the Snake River and other large bodies of water are also at good numbers. Canada goose numbers are high and continue to increase and diving ducks are stacked up on the Snake River as well.
Migrations: Not much of a move for birds recently with the exception of an increase in diving ducks as fronts push through and I expect more this week. Canada geese have also increased a slight amount but nothing excessive this week.
Season Stage: Just four weeks to go in the duck and Canada goose season.
Hunting Report: Hunting can be good for the guys that are getting their scouting in and finding places off the grid. The warm weather has scattered birds but there are a lot of birds in the valley so hunting the places that are less popular or even a bit nontraditional are paying off for guys.