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What Happened to Atlantic Flyway Mallards?

Discussion in 'North / South Carolina Flyway Forum' started by hydemarsh, May 20, 2020.

  1. creedsduckman

    creedsduckman Elite Refuge Member

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    Virginia
    I'm glad I'm not the only one noticing the lack of teal. Like you said up until 4-5 year ago through Thanksgiving greenwings were our bread and butter duck with any big ducks being a bonus. After that it switched to mostly gadwall and teal were a bonus until the last week or two of the season and then all bets were off, you were liable to kill anything. It seems like every year the teal get scarcer and scarcer.
     
  2. deac

    deac Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Crabpot Point, NC
    I've seen more teal the last two seasons than the 4-5 prior but they pass right through anymore. There were a fair number around last season right up to the big blow on openin day which sent em all to parts unknown.
    Mallards have never made up much of my groups bag over the last 40 years. Some years we get into them a little bit- mostly weather years.
     
  3. EastBound&Down

    EastBound&Down Senior Refuge Member

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    Location:
    North Carolina
    Areas I hunt lost the teal years ago. Used to hold a fair number of them in the swamps but that is long gone. I can remember seasons years ago when I would shoot a limit opening day of November and could also close out end of January with teal. Used to get into big bunches often out on the sound diver hunting but that is just a distant memory now also.
     
    creedsduckman likes this.
  4. KAHunter

    KAHunter Elite Refuge Member

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    Norfolk, Virginia
    Yeah open water hyde and currituck we kill a few teal but its been a few years since we have had any significant numbers of teal. Especially in currituck. Used to atleast see a teal flight every day, now its basically nothing.
     
    creedsduckman likes this.
  5. hydemarsh

    hydemarsh Senior Refuge Member

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    Sep 10, 2019
    Location:
    Johnston and Hyde
    KA I think this is a good discussion. I have noticed a big drop off in teal on the sound and our early Hyde county teal are arriving later and later. It was the third week of January before I saw a lot of teal at my place on Skeet. I used to see flights of thousands. Lucky to see a few.
     
  6. burgawboy

    burgawboy Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Tarheel Country
    I saw one flock of teal probably about a dozen Thanksgiving week last season. That’s the most I’ve seen in 3 years.
     
  7. Little Ruddy

    Little Ruddy Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Poquoson,Va.
    I think the flywayhas
     
  8. JFG

    JFG Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Coastal NC
    Teal sightings are interesting and unfortunately numbers anecdotally have been way down. Here’s some stats from my buddy who has been hunting/managing his best friend’s impoundment at Mattamuskeet for years.

    First off, what’s very important to know is the hunter “effort” factor. Since their first year in 04’, they have averaged 20-22 hunts per season. Hunter harvest/day avg. is ~4.5 with a high of 5.7 in 2010. In that first year, they took 92 gw’s (and other species). Numbers stayed good (high of 196 in 08’) until around 2014 when kills and sightings plummeted. Last year, they shot a grand total of 7 and have averaged only ~45 the last 5 years.

    Now their most staple bird has been wigeon, avg. about 120-130 a season. Had a low of 16 taken in 05’ but a record kill of 272 the following season. Who knows the reason the disparity, for one thing they plant and manage the same way every year so you’d have to surmise breeding hatch and/or weather factored heavily into it.

    So what has happened to the teal?? Breeding, weather, food source, migration issues? Lot of variables come into play but it surely does seem we are seeing fewer and fewer the last half dozen years or so .... and that’s a sad thing.
     
  9. Clark

    Clark Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Jamestown, NC. Duckin desert.
    Go back a few years and we got bonus teal and bonus scaup. How things change!
     
  10. Corn Rows

    Corn Rows Elite Refuge Member

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    Oct 15, 2002
    Location:
    NC
    My 2 cents:
    I can only speak for my experience in the north central Piedmont of NC and south central VA. From band recovery information, most of the mallards in the areas I hunt are from the NE US, very few from Canada, so I'm sure Canada habitat is an issue, but I have not read any specific NE US research on habitat.

    I think a reason for the decline in mallards past few seasons (especially the past 2) has been weather, I don't think they get here. Jan 2019 was extremely slow, but a cold snap up north couple days after the season (remember neg 30 deg F in Chicago?), gave the kids phenomenal hunting both youth days in Feb 2019. I'm seeing birds show up later and later each year, weather seems to have a larger impact than years past which seemed to be the late Nov and late Dec moon more than weather.

    I also think hunting pressure has a large impact. I'm not saying more birds are being killed, but as the numbers of birds decline, the number of hunters seems to increase. Not necessarily at the public boat ramps, but more spread out on ponds and swamps. The internet/duck dynasty crowd has really influenced the birds in my area. 20 years ago, only shooting around here was public lakes, I remember 3 or 4 years ago, hunting a small pond couple miles from the house on a Tues morning and hearing 4 other groups of hunters, estimated in a 7 mile radius, never like that in the past. This pressure makes it harder for birds to find a rest place when every pond, swamp and lake has a decoy spread, so some move on.

    Last issue is Duke Energy. Now I get it, the lakes are theirs and we're privileged to use it, but CP&L and Progress Energy did not eradicate the grass like Duke has. I also understand grass such as hydrilla may be considered an evasive species and bad for the natural eco, blah, blah, but I'm talking ducks in my area now vs past years. This issue is more of an overall numbers discussion and not specific to mallards, but I think it has a large impact on mallards, especially combined with habitat and other issues above.
     
    coachcornbread likes this.

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