Geese arriving, ducks leaving

December 16, 2009 at 05:44 PM

Cold weather is pushing waterfowl through Illinois, bringing good news to some and bad news to others.

Those faring best right now are Canada goose hunters in west-central Illinois, duck hunters at Randy Root’s Mallard Farms Club on the Illinois River near Spring Bay and Mississippi River duck hunters near Nauvoo.

First to the geese. Last Tuesday’s aerial survey showed 24,245 geese in west central Illinois, well above the five-year average of 16,455. And that was before a major migration pushed into the area later that same day.

Most of those birds (17,460) are in Fulton County. Here’s the full report.

W._Central_Illinois_geese_12-15-09_.pdf

But the word is not as good for goose chasers in southern Illinois. The count there was just 3,600 honkers on Tuesday—well below the five-year average of 31,023.

One bright spot was the presence of 143,900 snow geese—which is well above the usual 65,633. Of those snows, 91,700 were at Carlyle Lake.

Unfortunately, southern Illinois duck numbers lag well behind average, with just 70,050 counted—well off the usual 122,131 for this time of year.

Here’s the full report.

S._Illinois_ducks-geese_12-15-09_.pdf

But those ducks are not hanging out along the Illinois River, where the count was just 102,345. Of those, 23,000 were spotted around Randy Root’s club.

The problem along the Illinois River is ice cover of 75 to 99 percent most places, including the Emiquon Preserve where the duck hunting for the year has been called off.

Illinois_River_ducks_12-15-09.pdf

Duck hunting prospects are better along the Mississippi River, which had 235,200 ducks on Tuesday—37,000 above the 10-year average. That’s a bit deceptive, though, since 83,305 ducks were at Nauvoo-Fort Madison and 51,000 ducks were at the Dardenne Club.

Here’s the complete report.

Miss._River_ducks_12-15-09_.pdf