Name: David Ortley
Date: December 10, 2013
Location: Kalispell, Montana
Weather: What a week!! We are digging out from a major snow storm. Ten inches on the ground- light powder. We were in a deep freeze for most of the week with highs only in the low teens and lows to minus eleven. Skies have been clear until the storm hit last night. The forecast is for moderating temperatures and more snow.
Snow Cover: We have a deep blanket of light powder. The mountains were dumped on with up to twenty inches of snow.
Water Conditions: The river is very low and frozen in most shallow areas. The temperatures will warm the river opening most of it again over the weekend.
Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions have worsened. The light snow has blown in the fields so there is still some exposed stubble. I observed a massive flock of mallards working a field late today. Still plenty of aquatic vegetation in the river and warm open backwaters.
Species and Numbers: We had a major migration of mallards early in the week and they left Wednesday as temperatures plummeted. It appears as if new birds arrived just before the snow. The number of geese has again decreased.
Migrations: As indicated the migration waned and then improved with the bad weather. We have mostly mallards, bufflehead, and goldeneye. Still plenty of geese but not as many as last week. We had the best hunt on Tuesday with a four man limit of mallards.
Season Stage: This is the start of the eleventh week of our season.
Hunting Report: Hunting fell off this week but the weekend is promising. There are plenty of mallards that are hungry and moving around the valley. Divers are plentiful for those who dare.
Gossip: The bitter cold and snow is the topic of conversation. The ice fishermen are out in big numbers. Wolf season is still open.
Name: Kirk Steffensen
Location: Lincoln, NE
Weather: Unseasonably cold, the past couple day’s highs have been in the single digits with overnight lows below zero.
Snow Cover: 2” remaining, but should be gone by the weekend.
Water Conditions: Solid – 5 inches or more on most lakes.
Feeding Conditions: Good, fields are still open with the snow.
Species and Numbers: Good numbers of ducks (mainly mallards) in the area with lots dark geese.
Migrations: Nothing noteworthy the past week.
Season Stage: Duck: Zones 2 and 4 open till December 17th. Zone 3 open till January 4th. Goose: the east zone is open till early February.
Hunting Report: Good but birds are already flying their patterns.
Gossip: Nothing at this time.
Name: Jared Shepard
Location: Scottsbluff, NE
Weather: This past week’s temperatures were absolutely frigid with highs for the most part only reaching the low teens and overnight lows as cold as -12.
Snow Cover: We currently have about six inches of snow on the ground.
Water Conditions: Shallow ponds are now all frozen. The river started floating slush this past week but has not frozen in our area yet.
Feeding Conditions: Plenty of corn, beans, alfalfa and wheat located just under the snow for the birds to feed on.
Species and Numbers: Mallards and wigeon predominantly. I have also seen quite a few pintail in the area. Lots of geese in the area including cacklers, lesser and greaters. We still have not yet reached peak migration but are definitely getting closer.
Migrations: From what I have been hearing I think we have started getting birds from the east as the river is starting to freeze out that way.
Season Stage: Halfway through waterfowl season.
Hunting Report: Excellent! Reports of full duck and goose limits daily.
Gossip: River freezing to the east means new birds in the area!
Name: Dallas W. Branch
Location: Morrison, OK
Weather: Winter storm front moved through the area with below freezing temperatures.
Snow Cover: 1” and flurries.
Water Conditions: Sooner Lakes water level is normal. Smaller bodies of water are frozen.
Feeding Conditions: Feeding conditions are fair in the area. Winter wheat is doing well.
Species and Numbers: Duck numbers are fair and goose numbers are low.
Migrations: Recent cold fronts have moved birds around. Geese in larger numbers are beginning to show.
Season Stage: Waterfowl Season is closed at the moment and in the split. Waterfowl season resumes December 14th for zone 2.
Hunting Report: Nothing to report at this time.
Gossip: December temperatures are below normal.
Name: David Williams
Location: Choctaw, OK
Weather: Very cold the past 7 days with lows in the single digits and highs in the 20’s and 30’s. Gradual warming trend expected next week with daytime highs in the 50’s.
Snow Cover: A blanket of sleet and snow are on the ground from last week’s low pressure system.
Water Conditions: Water conditions are fair, but we’re due for a good shot of rain.
Feeding Conditions: Geese are feeding on chiseled corn and wheat.
Species and Numbers: All species of ducks are here. Significant increase in mallards observed.
Migrations: Last week’s strong cold front provided a significant push of mallards and geese.
Season Stage: All duck and goose seasons are closed statewide for the season split. All waterfowl seasons re-open this Saturday, December 14th.
Hunting Report: None, currently in season split.
Gossip: Big surge of new birds arrived during the split. The stage is set for an excellent second season.
Name: Will Harvey
Location: Glenwood MN
Weather: COLD, high temps have been in the negatives or single digits for a few days. Looks like the cold will hold its grip through the weekend with a few days forecasted into the low teens for highs.
Snow Cover: Most of Pope County got 4-6” with last week’s storms, the further north, the more snow with 6-8” in the Alexandria area.
Water Conditions: Frozen
Feeding Conditions: Corn fields are covered in snow, getting tougher for the few birds that have stuck around
Species and Numbers: Very few birds around. With the blizzard conditions last week followed by bitter cold, the birds bugged out.
Migrations: Away from here, headed someplace warm.
Season Stage: Late season
Hunting Report: Very few birds around, basically not worth hunting. Head to Fergus, the Metro or Rochester to find huntable numbers of birds.
Gossip: Almost a foot of ice on the lakes. People are driving on the ice and pulling out big ice shacks.
Name: Eric Wolf
Location: Waconia, MN
Weather: Cold and snowy, high’s below zero to single digits.
Snow Cover: 8 inches of snow.
Water Conditions: All water is frozen besides small stretches of larger rivers.
Feeding Conditions: The few geese in the area are feeding in corn fields.
Species and Numbers: Very few Canada geese in the area.
Migrations: Most birds have made their way south.
Season Stage: Just a couple weeks left for goose hunting.
Hunting Report: Most people have transitioned into ice fishing and predator hunting.
Name: Richard Shamla
Location: Clara City, MN
Weather: Daytime highs in the single digits with night time lows well below zero. This cold front has been over since late last week and has not let up yet, bringing high winds and arctic temperatures.
Snow Cover: A couple of inches.
Water Conditions: Most water is frozen except the river and a couple small holes the geese have kept open remain on Lac Qui Parle Lake.
Feeding Conditions: The remaining geese are feeding in corn fields during the mid-morning to afternoon hours.
Species and Numbers: What a change a week can makes! We have gone from 60,000 to 2,000 Canada geese.
Migrations: Most geese left in big waves late last week when the cold front came into the area.
Season Stage: Goose season remains open for two more weeks.
Hunting Report: After the cold front hit goose hunting has pretty much stopped. Wednesday of last week was a good day to end the season on. It makes for an easy limit when the geese are hungry and decoy perfectly.
Gossip: Close to a foot of ice on some of the lakes time to ice fish.
Name: Greg Owens
Location: Rochester, MN
Weather: Lows around zero, highs in the 20’s.
Snow Cover: Around 4 inches.
Water Conditions: Everything but the rivers is frozen solid.
Feeding Conditions: The area fields are completely harvested.
Species and Numbers: There are fair numbers of geese around town however most of them are still feeding inside the refuge. I would expect that it will take them a while to feed these fields out so they have to leave the refuge in numbers.
Migrations: With the heavy snow we had north of us we had a lot of birds move down.
Season Stage: Duck season is now over. Goose is open for a month still.
Hunting Report: Success has been very good.
Gossip: There are a lot of geese being shot around town right now. We have a bunch of new birds in and they are still dumb. This probably won’t last for long so get out after them while you can.
Name: Floyd Decker
Date: December 10, 2013
Location: Muskegon, Michigan
Weather: Old man winter has officially settled in for the season. After a brief warm up last week the mercury has settled to the bottom of the thermometer and it doesn’t look like it will be rising anytime soon. Overnight lows will be in the single digits with wind chills sub-zero.
Snow Cover: Most areas have 2-5″ with the chance of several additional inches forecasted over the next week.
Water Conditions: Most are frozen over.
Feeding Conditions: With farmers scrambling to pick fields they couldn’t get into last month, many waterfowl buffets have opened.
Species and Numbers: Duck numbers have seemed to dip a bit as of late and goose numbers seem to be increasing. This is also the case on the GMU’s.
Migrations: The GMU’s have been posting decreasing duck numbers but greater goose counts. This current cold snap we are under should make the counts adjust a bit with fresh birds being pushed down from the north.
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 is open through December 22.
Hunting Report: We were able to complete the wetland wonder challenge this past Sunday with our visit to Muskegon wastewater! A fair amount of ducks were winging around but I had not seen so many geese at once all season. The weather was not pleasant with a 20mph east wind pushing the wind chill near 0 but we truly had a blast. I encourage others to visit the many managed waterfowl properties around the state. We went to several this season that we had never gone to in the past and will be going back for years to come.
Gossip: Hope everyone had a great season and good luck to all the hard core late season hunters gearing up to kick things off soon!
Name: Justin Weber
Date: December 10, 2013
Location: Cottage Grove, WI
Weather: 0-15 degrees
Snow Cover: 4”
Water Conditions: All back ponds frozen and lakes are frozen over. Very little open water left,
Feeding Conditions: Geese hitting fields if they fly!
Species and Numbers: Few geese left but not very many…
Migrations: Most remaining geese left this weekend with the cold weather we had.
Season Stage: Late season geese.
Hunting Report: Hard to find birds, they are easy to kill if you do find them though.
Gossip: With a high of 5 degrees on Wednesday most remaining birds will very likely head south.
Name: Nathan Bender
Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Weather: Partly cloudy skies with temperatures during the day reaching highs of 10 degrees and temperatures at night dropping to -15 degrees. An extreme cold front has pushed into the area and temps had been in the teens for several days now and decreasing even more by the day.
Snow Cover: 3”
Water Conditions: Most bodies of water have frozen over for the most part with an exception to one or two big bodies of water. The river is still open but some areas may freeze as temps drop this week.
Feeding Conditions: Honkers and mallards have been feeding during the warmest times of the day, which has been in the afternoons. Both are hitting mostly corn now due to the colder weather we have been experiencing.
Species and Numbers: Honker population is very strong with migrators moving in whenever we have had north winds in the forecast. Our duck population as of right now consists almost entirely of mallards. Mallards have pushed down in pretty good numbers in the past week but with the season closed, no one has been able to hunt them.
Migrations: Whenever a north wind is present, migrating Canada geese and mallards have filled the skies as we progress into the late stages of the season. We received a strong push two weeks ago and another good push this past weekend. Lots of mallards have begun to stage in the open sections of the river.
Hunting Report: Hunting has been overall pretty good but if you can find a field that honkers are feeding in, your success rate will dramatically increase. Many guys did very well this past week and into the weekend as the weather brought in a strong push of new birds. Mallards are around the area now in considerably high numbers but the season closed over a week ago.
Gossip: Those that are willing to endure the negative temperatures have had exceptional results as of late. This is the time to be out but many are discouraged due to the extreme cold.
Name: Gerry Mazur
Location: Perrysburg, Ohio
Weather: Very cold with highs in the 20’s and single digit lows during the week. Possible significant snow this weekend.
Snow Cover: Just a dusting
Water Conditions: Everything really locking up with shallow conditions.
Feeding Conditions: All kinds of food.
Species and Numbers: Local geese in pockets and some ducks on the river.
Migrations: Still seems that an enormous amount of birds are still to the north.
Season Stage: Ohio zones open.
Hunting Report: Not Good!
Name: Brandon Geweke
Location: Antioch, Illinois
Weather: Lows in the single digits highs hitting 30.
Snow Cover: Past Sunday we got 4-6 inches of snow.
Water Conditions: Froze up/ only the rivers and big water have open holes.
Feeding Conditions: Corn fields and the all the geese are feeding out of the same field, not the same field every day but they are feeding together.
Species and Numbers: Middle of last week we lost some geese because of the cold but on Friday we got a ton of new geese in the area.
Migrations: Mid-morning they seem to be loafing from 3:00 pm till dark they are migration south hard.
Season Stage: About 1 month left of goose season.
Hunting Report: The new geese that pushed in are easy to work, putting lots of decoys out with hard calling to get attention but once they start to line up back off the calls and they are finishing great!!!
Gossip: Nothing at this time.
Name: Bill Grabe
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Weather: Highs in the 20’s, lows in the teens and single digits.
Snow Cover: 3-4 inches
Water Conditions: Most water is frozen.
Feeding Conditions: Ideal
Species and Numbers: Plenty of mallards and Canada geese around.
Migrations: Cold temperatures have frozen the refuge and much of the open water. The majority of birds have pushed out. Some small concentrations remain.
Season Stage: The duck season closes in 3 days. Goose season will remain open into January 14.
Hunting Report: Cold weather conditions have locked most water sources up. Small areas on rivers remain open. Very few ducks remain. Large Canada geese can be found and hunted if you are willing to put some miles on.
Name: Shaun Patrick
Location: Troy, MO
Weather: Highs in the 20’s, lows in the single digits.
Snow Cover: Light
Water Conditions: Frozen
Feeding Conditions: Good
Species and Numbers: Mallards, Canada geese
Migrations: We had a small push of birds Monday, but with water being locked up, they are on a few small areas.
Season Stage: Late
Hunting Report: Hunting has been tough here lately, with most of our ducks having pushed out, iced over water, and not having picked up our geese yet, it has been feast or famine for most guys.
Gossip: Mixed reports from the duck season, most places being pretty far under their normal totals due to an early ice up.
Name: Jay Hayter
Location: El Dorado, AR
Snow Cover: None
Water Conditions: Normal, all river areas are accessible and the fields have water as well.
Feeding Conditions: Good, birds are hitting the fields early and returning to the sloughs by late morning.
Species and Numbers: Fair number of mallards with fewer gadwalls than earlier in the season.
Migrations: None observed at this time.
Season Stage: Start of second split.
Hunting Report: Fair, we really need some sunny weather.
Gossip: Auburn back in National Championship hunt, can the defense handle Winston?
Name: John Gordon
Location: Prichard, MS
Weather: Very cold, low’s in the middle 20’s with wind chills in the teens.
Snow Cover: No snow, but we did have a layer of ice.
Water Conditions: Plenty of water in the fields.
Feeding Conditions: Waste grains are abundant, especially in corn and bean fields. The birds have been hitting these high protein sources as the temperature has dropped.
Species and Numbers: Mallards, gadwall, pintail, pretty much everything is down as far as ducks are concerned. Large amounts of snows and specks are here as well.
Migrations: This last front definitely gave us a large push from the north. There are more ducks and geese here now than usual for early December.
Season Stage: The splits are over so Mississippi will be open for ducks through January 26. Conservation season for light geese will then open until the end of March.
Hunting Report: Excellent hunting in the area lately, many limits being taken.
Gossip: The Bulldogs headed here locally to Memphis for the Liberty Bowl vs Rice.
Name: Shannon Housend
Location: Des Allemans, LA
Weather: Cool, mid 40’s for highs.
Snow Cover: N/A
Water Conditions: Low, not much rain of late.
Feeding Conditions: Same, plenty of moist soil seed in the marshes and rice in the fields.
Species and Numbers: Teal and gadwall are the only ducks around at this time.
Migrations: Not seeing much!
Season Stage: We are in the split right now.
Hunting Report: Haven’t been a bunch, there isn’t anything to go after.
Gossip: I can honestly say I have never seen it like this, usually on a bad year we still get some birds, not much but it’s something to keep you going. This year has been the worst, I mean nothing. The few ducks that are here have been pressured so much you have a real slim chance of getting them to work. The last front pushed a few down, but it’s not enough to last for any amount of time.