Saturday’s opening of the low plains early duck zone could hold disappointment for many who go afield. Two popular public places have little water and another has had too much.
CHEYENNE BOTTOMS WILDLIFE AREA
Karl Grover, area manager, said The Bottoms has 20-25,000 ducks though many are in the refuge areas of 1A, 1B and 1C. For hunting pools, he said about eight-inches of water are in 3B and 14-inches of water in pool 4B.
Most of the ducks are pintails, shovelers and blue-winged teal.
As with during teal season Grover expects hunter numbers to be down but very concentrated because of a lack of habitat. He did add, though, that teal hunters shot about 820 birds in September. That’s a good number considering the severity of the drought.
JAMESTOWN WILDLIFE AREA
Assistant manager Matt Farmer, a fine Wichita area product, described things as “pretty bleak right now.” Jamestown had several major rain events during the summer so the place is long on water and short on waterfowl food. He thinks late-season hunting could be better as species like mallards and geese will find ample food in surrounding grain fields. “I’m remaining optimistic,” he said.
Farmer said some cool fronts are needed to bring birds down. People he’s talked to in Nebraska and South Dakota are having stellar hunting.
MCPHERSON VALLEY WETLANDS
Area manager Brent Theede also referred to conditions as “pretty bleak.” Theede said there are few ducks around and very little water, though there are about 30-35 acres at the Inman marshes.