When it comes to duck populations, we have to take things at two scales: what we see over our decoys and what is happening continent-wide. At continental scales, duck populations have largely been high for the last few years. Good wetland conditions across many areas of the prairies (and some years of very wet conditions) have allowed duck populations to reach very high levels. Species like mallards, gadwall, blue-winged teal, redheads and cans are far above their 1955-2017 long-term averages.
Yet sometimes, for a variety of reasons, large duck populations may not show up over our decoys. Local habitat conditions are a huge contributor to what we see when we are hunting; if you have great habitat, you will likely see lots of ducks (even when populations are only modest) and if you are hunting areas where local habitat is degraded or - worse yet - decimated, even the largest of fall flights won’t give you many chances at ducks in the blocks.
Response by John L. Devney, Delta Waterfowl VP of U.S. Policy
Do you have a question for Prairie Sportsman? Ask us! Use #ASKPS on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram!