Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
RulesIllinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com

Prairie State Outdoors Categories

Top Story :: Opinion :: Illinois Outdoor News :: Fishing News :: Hunting News :: Birding News :: Nature Stories :: Miscellaneous News :: Fishing :: Big Fish Fridays :: Big Fish Stories :: State Fishing Reports :: Other Fishing Reports :: Fishing Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Fish :: Fishing Calendar :: Hunting :: Hunting Reports :: Hunting Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Hunt :: Tales from the Timber :: Turkey Tales :: Hunting Calendar :: Big Game Stories :: Nature and Birding :: Birding Bits :: Nature Newsbits :: Critter Corner :: Birding Calendar :: Stargazing :: In the Wild :: Miscellaneous Reports and Shorts :: Links :: Hunting Links :: Birding Links :: Video ::

Big Buck Stories

1960s :: 1980s :: 1991-92 :: 1992-93 :: 1993-94 :: 1994-95 :: 1995-96 :: 1997-98 :: 1998-99 :: 1999-2000 :: 2000-01 :: 2001-02 :: 2003-04 :: 2004-05 :: 2005-06 :: 2006-07 :: 2007-08 :: 2008-09 :: 2009-10 :: 2010-11 :: 2011-12 :: 2012-13 ::

Scattershooting

Flathead's Picture of the Week :: Big bucks :: Birdwatching :: Cougars :: Dogs :: Critters :: Fishing :: Asian carp :: Bass :: Catfish :: Crappie :: Ice :: Muskie :: Humor :: Hunting :: Deer :: Ducks :: Geese :: Turkey :: Upland game :: Misc. :: Mushrooms :: Open Blog Thursday :: Picture A Day 2010 :: Plants and trees :: Politics :: Prairie :: Scattershooting :: Tales from the Trail Cams :: Wild Things ::


Print
Illinois Outdoors

Mallard numbers have stayed fairly steady.

Duck data delivered

July 12, 2008 at 07:22 AM

Those without a duck hunter in the family might think of the phrase “wait until next year” as the sole property of fans who follow struggling sports teams.

But hope springs eternal for diehard waterfowl hunters, too. No matter how disappointing the hunting may have been in the past, a new year is cause for hope and optimism.

Later this month, thousands of waterfowl enthusiasts will gather at public sites along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to enter random drawings for a mere handful of blinds. On July 27 at the Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area near Chandlerville, a big crowd is expected.

Helping fan a hunter’s enthusiasm — or worry — are the numbers published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service each summer concerning duck populations and habitat conditions.

During May and early June, biologists fly over the primary duck breeding grounds in the north-central United States and Canada to estimate the number of wetlands available. They also estimate the number of ducks using these areas. They’ll take those numbers into account later this summer, when meetings are held to establish season lengths and bag limits.

The Mississippi Flyway Council, made up of representatives from states along the length of the Mississippi River, meets July 20-25 in Knoxville, Tenn. The Fish and Wildlife Service has the final say at its Service Regulations Committee meeting July 30–31.

The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates total duck populations at 37.3 million breeding ducks, down 9 percent from last year’s estimate of 41.2 million.
But this year’s number still is 11 percent above the long-term average taken from 1955 to 2007.

Sanganois site superintendent Doug Jallas says he doesn’t expect the number of people attending the blind drawing to drop, even if duck numbers appear to be down.

“There were almost 1,200 people here last year,” he says, “and I don’t see one person declining from that.”

The last two blind drawings at Sanganois attracted 1,187 and 1,186 people, respectively.

“There was a one-person difference between the two years,” he says.

Speaking of optimism, attendees have less than one chance in 100 of drawing a blind. Still, the event is a midsummer celebration of waterfowl hunting, with wild game on the grill, sporting-goods dealers displaying wares and conservation groups represented.

This week, the first clues started to trickle in that may give insight into the potential of the fall hunting season — surely good conversation fodder for hunters standing around the grill.

The Fish and Wildlife Service says duck numbers and hatchling success are closely tied to available breeding habitat. And while rainfall has been plentiful in most of the Midwest this spring and summer, parts of the duck breeding range have experienced drought.

In the north-central United States and Canada, biologists counted 4.4 million ponds — 37 percent below last year and 10 percent below the long-term average. The prairie grasslands of Canada in particular have felt the ill effects of dry conditions.

Some early-nesting ducks have declined, while others that are able to start over or were fortunate enough to nest after rains came are doing better than last year, according to Ducks Unlimited.

But the survey numbers from the northern U.S. and Canada rarely correlate directly to the success of duck hunting in central Illinois.

No matter how many ducks fly south, they need food and open water or they’ll just keep on going.

Jallas said early freeze-ups cut past duck-hunting seasons short.

“The last two years we’ve had 60-day seasons, but the weather shut us down after about 30 days.”

Ducks that improved in abundance over last year:

  • Green-winged teal improved slightly from 2.890 million last year to 2.980 million in 2008, an increase of 3 percent and 57 percent above the long-term average.
  • Redheads increased 5 percent from 1.009 to 1.056 million. That’s 66 percent above the long-term average.
  • Scaup, always of concern to biologists because of precipitous drops in numbers over the years, increased 8 percent from 3.452 to 3.738 million. Scaup numbers remain 27 percent below the long-term average.

Ducks that declined over last year:

  • Mallards are down 7 percent from 8.307 to 7.724 million. Mallard numbers are similar to the long-term average, up about 3 percent.
  • Gadwall are down 19 percent from 3.356 to 2.728 million. Still, that number is 56 percent ahead of the long-term average.
  • American widgeon numbers dropped 11 percent from 2.807 to 2.487 million. That’s down 5 percent long-term.
  • Blue winged-teal stayed fairly steady, dropping only 1 percent to 6.64 million, 45 percent above the long-term average.
  • Northern shovelers dropped 23 percent to 3.508 million but still are 56 percent above average.
  • Northern pintails — also a species of concern — decreased by 22 percent to 2.613 million. That is below the long-term average by 36 percent.
  • Canvasbacks dropped 44 percent to 489,000 birds, 14 percent below the long-term average. Josh Stafford, a research scientist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, says that number appears to be extreme. “I’m sure we didn’t lose half of our canvasbacks,” he says.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Having less than a 1 in 100 chance of drawing a blind at Sanganois implies 12 or fewer blinds with ~1,200.  This isn’t true.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 07/12 at 01:34 PM

Comment Area Pool Rules

  1. Read our Terms of Service.
  2. You must be a member. :: Register here :: Log In
  3. Keep it clean.
  4. Stay on topic.
  5. Be civil, honest and accurate.
  6. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Log In

Register as a new member

Next entry: Training a hound for the hunt

Previous entry: Budget cuts could close Wildlife Prairie

Log Out

RSS & Atom Feeds

Prairie State Outdoors
PSO on Facebook
Promote Your Page Too

News Archives

September 2017
S M T W T F S
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Copyright © 2007-2014 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Some Rights Reserved
Original content available for non-commercial use
under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.
Creative Commons