Duck Counts, the good news and the bad news

Spring breeding populations of mallards are estimated to be more than 10.6 million birds.

Word from our duck production areas of the northern plains and Canada is good,…and not so good.

Basically the number of ducks that arrived at spring breeding grounds were at or near all-time highs since counts began more than 50 years ago.

Unfortunately, the number of ponds those ducks found for raising ducklings was down about 32 percent.

What does that mean for fall hunting seasons?

It’s too early to tell, but the abundance of adult birds should provide at least some production, but the migrations may be heavily populated with veteran ducks. That makes for tougher hunting.

Here’s a look at how some of the most popular species arrived at their spring breeding grounds. The figures are compared to the 2011 breeding populations.

Mallards          +15%

Gadwall            +10%

Wigeon                +3%

Greenwings       +20%

Bluewings           +3%

Pintail                   -22%

Canvasback         +10%