Ducks scattered, below average

November 03, 2009 at 06:25 PM

Waterfowl season has been a very mixed bag so far in Illinois.

North Zone hunters who rely on fields have had little or no success because harvest has been so slow. River hunters have fared better, but action has slowed since rivers flooded and ducks have had more areas in which to scatter.

The same is true in the Central Zone, as rising water has scattered ducks and hunting has been slow of late, particularly in traditional Illinois River areas. Plus, the latest duck count is below average, though that may be deceptive since birds have so much water to chose from thanks to recent flooding.

The count in the Illinois River is 178,565 ducks, just under the 10-year average of 185,273. The highest concentration is at the Emiquon Preserve, where 53,140 ducks were counted. The Mississippi River has 111,625 ducks compared to the average of 123,753.

Ducks and geese are also well below average in Central and Southern Illinois

Mallards are lagging behind the average, as has been the norm in recent years.

Here are the complete surveys.

Illinois_River_10-22-09.pdf

Miss._River_10-22-09_.pdf

S._Illinois_waterfowl_10-22-09_.pdf

Hunting for Canada geese has been slowed by the lack of harvested fields. Those hunting over water or who do have pits in picked fields are enjoying some good shooting.