Migration update?

Discussion in 'South Dakota Flyway Forum' started by Eyehunter83, Nov 20, 2021.

  1. Eyehunter83

    Eyehunter83 New Member

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    We were out last weekend and did well in the northeastern part of the state. Lots of mallards in the fields, cacklers and other dark geese around and snows just starting to show up in decent numbers. We’re headed back tomorrow for the week of thanksgiving but this time around 150 miles south of the ND border. Anybody have an update on bird numbers and how much of the water is frozen? Thanks for any information you can provide and I’ll update the thread while we’re out there for others that are viewing.
     
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  2. recker999

    recker999 Senior Refuge Member

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    Bring your ice skates. After tonight. 95% of the water will be frozen
     
  3. bijou 33

    bijou 33 New Member

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    Reading earlier reports out of Canada on the hen to drake ratio(6 drakes to 1 hen). Observed the disparity first hand in the migrating flocks from the north. Not a 6 to 1 ratio but very close to that, poor hatch and predation on nesting hens. Migration should start trickling out of Dakotas this week, shoot green southern boys
     
  4. recker999

    recker999 Senior Refuge Member

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    I would think its more than a trickle. Sand Lake went from a million snow geese to basically zero in a matter of a few days late last week. There is some waterfowl left but the vast majority of the birds have left the Dakota's now.
     
  5. Eyehunter83

    Eyehunter83 New Member

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    Lots of snow geese in eastern SD but mallards are a little harder to come by. There are huntable numbers for sure but you need to put in quite a bit of windshield time. Doesn’t help that deer season is open. Most of the water is frozen.
     
  6. prairie hunter

    prairie hunter Elite Refuge Member

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    Over the past 40+ years I have seen many times where a mallard feed is extremely heavy on drakes ... August-Septmeber, October and late season ... Seen large flocks of BWT on the Gulf Coast that were almost all drakes too.

    My take is that these birds are mostly bachelor drakes with a few hens (lost nest) mixed in. Those are the flocks that often seem tougher to work, decoy, etc... unless weather tips the odds in your favor.

    Just do not see the big flocks of mallards field feeding in Augus-September in ND anymore ... the move from small grains to corn & beans has certainly hurt that. Suspect that those bachelor drake groups move north to molt and feed on the early barley and pea fields harvested long before any bean field is.
     
  7. Eyehunter83

    Eyehunter83 New Member

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    Hoping the NW wind tomorrow pushes some new birds in. Looks like tomorrow night is going to lock most everything up again. Good luck to all
     
  8. recker999

    recker999 Senior Refuge Member

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    The Sand Lake report from today is below.

    I am sure there are more snows in southern SD still and maybe some ducks. Tonight's lows are going to be 9 degrees in northeastern SD and even 15 in Sioux Falls. I assume a guy could probably still get into the ducks in an area like Yankton with a river system but it's possible the mallards will keep a hole open in eastern SD and could provide a good field hunt. I guess just alot of windshield time will probably be required.


    11/24/21

    Sand Lake's influx of snow geese has decreased substantially from the last report. It is estimated between 3000 - 6000 snow geese are currently using the Refuge and surrounding crop fields. In addition, there are roughly 500 Canada geese still in the area. Duck numbers have also decreased significantly over the past week, but there are still fair numbers of Bald Eagles in the area. Good areas for viewing opportunities are the Sand Lake Refuge Headquarters, Columbia Day Use Area, and where SD Hwy 10 and 117th street intersect the Refuge.

    Weather conditions have been mostly mild for November, however below freezing low temps at night have the lake building more ice cover every night. Corn harvest in the area is nearing 100% completion.
     
  9. recker999

    recker999 Senior Refuge Member

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    Any updates?
     
  10. Eyehunter83

    Eyehunter83 New Member

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    We hunted yesterday morning for a couple hours before we headed home. Lots of snows and a few more mallards had moved in over night and had some holes open, but all the water was frozen and it looked like most birds were heading south after they got done feeding in the morning. I’m sure there will be pockets of birds here and there but most have migrated out. Good luck to anyone chasing them yet. Time for my crew to chase pheasants and go ice fishing. Happy thanksgiving
     

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