Here are the latest round of migration reports as waterfowl hunting in Texas nears the middle of the second split in most areas.
Name: Kirk Steffensen
Location: Lincoln, NE
Weather: Cold again, daytime highs have been in the 20’s with overnight lows near zero. No precipitation has occurred the past week.
Snow Cover: Minimal, some snow remaining in low spots and south facing hills.
Water Conditions: Solid, 6 to 7 inches or more on most lakes.
Feeding Conditions: Good, fields are open with no snow cover. Ducks and geese are primarily feeding in corn.
Species and Numbers: Lots of dark geese around the area.
Migrations: Nothing noteworthy the past week.
Season Stage: Duck: Zones 2 and 4 closed. Zone 3 open till January 4th. Goose: the east zone is open till early February.
Hunting Report: Getting tough, birds are becoming patterned and know the safe fields.
Gossip: Nothing at this time.
Name: Jared Shepard
Location: Scottsbluff, NE
Weather: Temperatures have been in the lower 50’s – 40’s with overnight lows in the teens to low 20’s this past week.
Snow Cover: We currently have no snow on the ground.
Water Conditions: Shallow ponds remain frozen. Warm temps these past two weeks have left the river flowing smoothly with no ice or slush.
Feeding Conditions: Plenty of corn, beans, alfalfa and prairie grass.
Species and Numbers: Mallards, widgeon and pintail are the primary duck species in the area right now. Lots of geese remain in the area also, including cacklers, lesser, and greaters.
Migrations: Birds from the east these past two weeks have brought us to peak migration.
Season Stage: Only about a month remaining in duck season and just over that left in dark goose season.
Hunting Report: Excellent! Reports of full duck and goose limits daily.
Gossip: None as of lately.
Name: Eric Wolf
Location: Waconia, MN
Weather: Daytime highs in the single digits with temps below zero at night, cold!!
Snow Cover: 12”
Water Conditions: All water in the area is frozen.
Feeding Conditions: There are no birds in the area feeding.
Species and Numbers: None.
Migrations: All birds are south of here.
Season Stage: The season just came to an end.
Hunting Report: A few coyotes are being harvested and fishing has been good.
Name: Richard Shamla
Location: Clara City, MN
Weather: Daytime highs in the single digits and nighttime lows with wind chill -20 below zero.
Snow Cover: Couple inches on the ground
Water Conditions: Most water is frozen except the river and pockets the geese have open on Lac Qui Parle Lake.
Feeding Conditions: Remaining geese are feeding mid to late afternoon hours in corn fields around the area.
Species and Numbers: Very few geese still around.
Migrations: None observed
Season Stage: Closed
Hunting Report: This past week a couple guys toughed out the weather and had ok goose hunts very close to the refuge.
Gossip: Ice fishing bite has been strong throughout the area.
Name: Floyd Decker
Date: December 22, 2013
Location: Bloomingdale, Michigan
Weather: Cold, windy, lots of snow a week ago followed up with a warm up and rain showers leading into this weekend, capped off with an ice storm Saturday night! This next week temps will be falling into the 20’s with lake effect snow forecasted.
Snow Cover: Nearly a foot was on the ground leading into the weekend, now trace amounts remain but we should see plenty fresh powder by mid-week.
Water Conditions: Most are frozen over. Use caution if heading across ice, several people have been rescued this past week after taking the polar bear plunge.
Feeding Conditions: Unbelievable how much standing corn we still have in our area. The picked fields in the refuge at the GMU were blacked out yesterday by nearly 9000 honkers.
Species and Numbers: Around 9000 geese on the Todd farm and great duck numbers look very good for next weekend’s late duck season!
Migrations: This week’s reports from the GMU showed a spike in fresh birds. With the farm open through the end of January they have already passed last year’s harvest numbers.
Season Stage: Regular season for both duck and goose has closed in the south zone. The Fennville farm remains open through the end of January and the Muskegon wastewater closed after the Sunday PM hunts. A 2 day duck and goose season opens next weekend.
Hunting Report: We were able to take a friend on his first waterfowl hunt this weekend. With our only option being the GMU we went to the draw. We drew poorly but based on wind direction selected a zone and set up. We had heavy fog which set up a very low ceiling. We hunted almost blind as honks became closer and closer the birds would not be visible until they were well in range, it was a blast to say the least and I’m pretty sure we have a new hunter hooked!
Gossip: Whether you are hitting a GMU or waiting on the late season, good luck and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Name: Gerry Mazur
Location: Bono, Ohio
Weather: Drizzle and cloudy with highs in the 30’s, gusty southwest winds at 15 to 25.
Snow Cover: All melted from 2-5 inch rains for the last 24 hours.
Water Conditions: Flood warnings with field flooding and water over the roads.
Feeding Conditions: Food is visible again after the snow melt off.
Species and Numbers: Not a huge amount of geese and very few ducks.
Migrations: Have passed here.
Season Stage: Duck zone is closed in the Lake Erie zone.
Hunting Report: None to be found and no hunters anywhere along the refuge.
Name: Kent Contreras
Date: December 23rd, 2013
Location: Newport, Washington
Weather: The forecasts for the coming week predict partly cloudy skies and lows in the single teens with high temps in the low 30’s.
Snow Cover: Snow in the mountains and higher elevations – Valleys still have a little snow cover left.
Water Conditions: We have received higher than normal precipitation for the year. River level is running below average. Sloughs, ponds and lakes have frozen over with the recent cold snap.
Feeding Conditions: Moderate
Species and Numbers: Canada goose populations are a bit above average. Duck numbers have varied.
Migrations: The last cold snap seemed to push a lot of birds out of the area. Mallard numbers have dropped a bit but we have seen a fresh influx of wigeon and divers.
Season Stage: Mid-season
Hunting Report: Hunters were pretty much denied any days on the river as the cold snap froze out most boat ramps. The elongated below zero temps even froze the Pend Oreille River over in places. This weekend saw some hunters getting out to shoreline areas that had open water.
Gossip: Merry Christmas to all!
Name: Zach LaBorde
Date: December 23rd, 2013
Location: Wenatchee, WA
Weather: Overcast, winds light and variable. No precipitation. Highs in the low 40’s and lows in the mid-20’s.
Snow Cover: Several inches of snow cover in higher elevations that is melting off form recent rains. No snow covers in the Columbia River valley.
Water Conditions: With recent warmer temps, some smaller ponds and lakes are opening back up and birds have been using them.
Feeding Conditions: Ducks have been feeding on the river mid-morning and in the late afternoon. With the lack of agricultural fields in the area, birds are feeding on aquatic vegetation in the shallow flats of the river. Lower water in the river exposes more vegetation and causes the birds to have to fly less to find food.
Species and Numbers: Wigeon numbers are excellent and have provided the majority of shooting opportunities. Certain sections of the river are starting to see redheads and canvasbacks show up in considerable numbers. More mallards have come in since last week.
Migrations: Canvasbacks and redheads are starting to filter into the area. The last month of the season should be good for divers.
Season Stage: About a month and a half left in the season.
Hunting Report: Hunting this weekend was good again. The crowds were out on certain stretches of the river, as it appears many hunters scouted the same area. Hunting the afternoons proved to be more productive and enjoyable after other groups had left. Good numbers of birds provided excellent shooting opportunities.
Name: David Harper
Location: Twin Falls, Idaho
Weather: Early in the week we started to warm up and are even topping out around 40 during the afternoons now. The weather has been clear most every day now during this warm up. The forecast shows a cooling trend and some possible snow coming soon though.
Snow Cover: Snow is intermittent now where it has melted off partially in fields.
Water Conditions: Many areas are still frozen, including reservoirs, ponds, and some slack water. The Snake River is still open and in good shape.
Feeding Conditions: Birds are hitting corn hard here right now and appears to be plenty of feed left still. Plus there are still corn fields being thrashed every day.
Species and Numbers: Large numbers of mallards and wigeons around right now as well Canada geese.
Migrations: We continue to get more puddle ducks and geese in every day. I expect that the divers will pick up here very shortly.
Season Stage: Looking at about 4 weeks of regular season left.
Hunting Report: Corn field hunting can be great right now, many guys are really lighting them up. But it is very dependent on the birds right now, scout, scout, scout. Gossip: Happy Hollidays!