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Weekly Waterfowl Reports

Gadwall

January 20, 2015

The following report is a compilation of WMA reports and habitat assessments during the week ending January 18, 2015.           

 

Jackson, MS -The report below is a compilation of on-the-ground observations from biologists, as well as public and private land managers.  Weather over the past week returned to a more "normal" pattern for Mississippi, with some ice developing overnight and thawing by mid-morning.  This pattern resulted in increased hunting success from many reports across the state, as ducks roosted on deeper, lower quality foraging wetlands overnight and returned to shallow, food-rich habitats to feed mid-morning.  The final week of waterfowl seasons has begun, and the forecast for the week predicts colder, rainy weather late in the week, followed by a relatively warm and sunny weekend.  Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) across the Mississippi Delta have maintained steady duck numbers recently, and mallard abundance has slightly increased overall.  Mallard numbers have increased in harvest reports on both public and private lands.  Very large flocks of migrant geese were recently observed across the Delta region, and white-fronted goose harvest has remained high based on reports.  Hunters are encouraged to try different hunting tactics as waterfowl typically become more difficult to hunt late in the season.  Finding ways to hide (layout blinds, layout boats, etc.) away from typical hunting areas could be productive for late season hunting.  Hunters are also reminded to take advantage of the final youth waterfowl hunting day on January 31 and the light goose conservation order from January 26 - 30 and February 1 - March 31.

 

The late January aerial waterfowl survey is being conducted this week, and summary reports will be posted to the MDWFP Waterfowl Program website (www.mdwfp.com/waterfowl) soon.  This site also lists links to regulations, hunter harvest, and habitat information for specific WMAs throughout the state, as well as other general waterfowl information as it becomes available.

 

Water levels and general waterfowl abundance ratings for selected Wildlife Management Areas.

WMA

Water Levels*

Bird Abundance

Charlie Capps

100%

High

Howard Miller

100%

Medium-High

Indianola

100%

Medium

Mahannah

100%

Medium

Malmaison**

100%

Medium

Muscadine Farms

100%

Medium

O'Keefe

100%

Medium-High

Twin Oaks

100%

Medium

Trim Cane

100%

Medium

Tuscumbia

100%

Low

*Indicates percentage of impoundments with water levels sufficient enough to hunt.

**Malmaison WMA green-tree reservoir is being managed at a lower water level than in past years.

 

Previous Reports

 

The report below is a compilation of on-the-ground observations from biologists, as well as public and private land managers.  In general, the past week continued a slight increase in waterfowl abundance and harvest reports across the state.  Abundant rainfall across much of the state flooded rivers and smaller tributaries to produce the first significant pulse of naturally flooded habitat for this season.  The long-range forecast predicts temperatures to reach well below the freezing mark this week.  These weather conditions should push more southward migration activity into the state, as more northern latitudes experience a hard freeze, making wetland habitats unavailable for waterfowl.  Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) across the Mississippi Delta are still holding ducks, and several area managers have recently reported increasing numbers, particularly mallards, ahead of the incoming weather front.  Harvest reports are still showing a large proportion of green-winged teal and gadwall, and some hunters are still taking advantage of an abundance of white-fronted geese.  Large flocks of migrant geese continue to be observed across the Delta region, primarily using rice and soybean fields.  Deep water habitats such as production catfish ponds and oxbow lakes continue to hold ducks, and bird numbers on these areas should increase as shallow wetlands begin to freeze this week.  When shallow wetlands thaw, biologists expect waterfowl to quickly begin using flooded agricultural fields again for quick energy sources.

 

The early January aerial waterfowl survey is underway this week.  Survey summary reports will be posted to the MDWFP Waterfowl Program website (www.mdwfp.com/waterfowl ) soon after completion.  This site also lists links to regulations, hunter harvest, and habitat information for specific WMAs throughout the state, as well as other general waterfowl information as it becomes available.

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