Duck Brood Numbers Down Slightly from Last Year Water numbers down 38%

Discussion in 'North Dakota Flyway Forum' started by KEN, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. KEN

    KEN Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    4,675
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2000
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Duck Brood Numbers Down Slightly from Last Year. Water numbers down 38%,
    State Game and Fish Department biologists expect a fall duck flight from North Dakota that is down 8 percent from last year, based on observations from the annual mid-July waterfowl production survey.

    This year’s brood index came in at 3.68 broods per square mile, down 5 percent from last year. The statewide average since the survey began in 1955 is 2.59 broods per square mile. Overall brood size was up 8 percent from last year.

    Migratory game bird management supervisor Mike Szymanski said production was better in the northern tier of the state, with northernmost routes experiencing increased counts over last year. "Moving south and east, fewer broods were observed than in 2016," he said.

    Observers also count water areas during the summer survey, and this year’s water index was 38 percent lower than last year. Due to drought conditions and sparse precipitation since snowmelt, Szymanski said summer wetland conditions are declining.

    “It was already starting to dry up when we did our spring survey, and the pattern continued,” Szymanski added. “It definitely affected how breeding pairs settled in the state. Temporary and seasonal wetlands were the first to be hit. Luckily, most medium-sized and larger wetlands were only starting to show stress at the time of the survey.”

    Game and Fish biologists will conduct a separate survey in September to assess wetland conditions heading into the waterfowl hunting seasons.

    Mallards, gadwall and blue-winged teal are the top three duck species that nest in North Dakota, and together they accounted for nearly 75 percent of the broods observed in the summer survey. Mallard brood numbers were down about 13 percent from last year, gadwalls were down about 4 percent, and blue-winged teal broods were unchanged. Blue-winged teal are typically the most prevalent breeding duck in North Dakota.

    In addition, pintail brood numbers were down 65 percent. However, shovelers were up 44 percent.

    The Game and Fish summer duck brood survey involves 18 routes that cover all sectors of the state, except west and south of the Missouri River. Biologists count and classify duck broods and water areas within 220 yards on each side of the road.

    The survey started in the mid-1950s, and all routes used today have been in place since 1965.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  2. KEN

    KEN Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    4,675
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2000
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Brood number counts aren't as important as water areas. Down almost 40% as compared to last year are a lot. Because large bodies aren't a problem......losing all the smaller ones is.

    And as Dean says in another thread....the medium and small ones left will have mudflats from the cattails out to the water.BUT potholes need to dry out every so often to provide good habitat. So we just have to put up with it when it happens.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  3. MarkNY

    MarkNY New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2004
    Location:
    Fingerlakes Region of New York
    Hi Ken, thanks for the info. Appreciate it. I've never been out on a drought year but have been out on years where we found low water in areas. We've always managed to get our birds. We only hunt water and we hunt whatever we find. Love hunting divers and anything else really. We drive and do the work. In your opinion how can conditions like we have this year have a bad impact on a hunt like I describe. I guess if we were field hunting and looking for mallards I'd be pretty concerned. Just interested in your thoughts on that. Thanks, mark
     
  4. KEN

    KEN Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    4,675
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2000
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Other way around.....low water should not affect field hunting. Other than concentrate birds and therefore hunters. If you are basically hunting divers.....they are on the big water and should not be a problem.

    Also depends on where in the state you hunt......not all areas are the same. NE corner has had the most rain. Western half is the driest. Still have 6 weeks till the season opens and things could change. Thunderstorms can drop a lot of rain in a short time.
     
  5. MarkNY

    MarkNY New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2004
    Location:
    Fingerlakes Region of New York
    Thanks for the reply. I guess I was thinking no crop and therefore no harvest would put a hurting on the field hunting. But hopefully you get some weather and salvage a crop for the farmers sake. In the past we have hunted smaller water adjacent to big water even for divers. So I guess if the smaller stuff doesn't get filled up we might have to adjust our plans. Time will tell. Thanks, Mark
     
  6. Dean Nelson

    Dean Nelson Moderator Goose Hunting/North Dakota Moderator

    Messages:
    8,549
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2002
    Location:
    Bismarck North Dakota
    Crops are a non-issue with the rain falling just in time over most of the area. Yeald is likely to suck but it will be same as usual as for hunting save for the odd area and the fire danger of off trail driving. It's been downright wet as of late in many areas especially south of me so things are actually greening up and the alfalfa is starting to look like a better cut then the first time around. Just remember if it's dry and your off-road catalytic converters are not your friend so have some water with and never drive away from a spot you stopped at without making sure there is no smoke.
     
  7. MarkNY

    MarkNY New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2004
    Location:
    Fingerlakes Region of New York
    Dean, thanks for the update. Appreciate it. Mark
     
  8. prairie hunter

    prairie hunter Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
    3,429
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Location:
    prairie marsh
    If the field is bad enough and is covered by crop insurance ... it maybe left standing for some time. Some say they can even be quickly fenced and cattle run inside them.

    Some farmers maybe in a more pretty pissy mood come fall ... just like the rest of us, money issues can cause stress and loss of sleep ... crabby.
     
  9. prairie hunter

    prairie hunter Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
    3,429
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Location:
    prairie marsh
    Brood counts matter for this years flight. Flight will be decent. If drought is not ended ... next year will be more greatly impacted by the loss of all the "temporary" wetlands.
     
  10. prairie hunter

    prairie hunter Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
    3,429
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Location:
    prairie marsh
    I will be making a big run through ND duck country later in August. I will be hunting YW a month later. Will know soon enough.

    Ken is correct ... you can be in an area that is completely dry ... drive to the next section or two and a late August storm recharged the wetlands and even through out some sheet water.

    Back in '94 or '95 ... October was the wet month. Some sloughs went from 6 inches to 5 feet deep. Flooded hay fields became a main holding area for mallards where we where hunting.
     

Share This Page