Ducks Far Exceed Averages


Ducks counted on the main breeding grounds are far above long-term averages. Idaho waterfowlers have to hope for the right weather to bring them in from the north.

Duck hunters in Idaho will be looking to the weather forecast this fall, watching for the conditions that can give their state a shot at a huge flight of migrating waterfowl.

The fall flight predictions show increases in all waterfowl species from last year and an enormous leap above long-term averages. Whether these promising flights pour into Idaho or trickle down always depends on weather that favors flights through a state that lies between major flyways.

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has reported on 2014 trends in duck populations based on surveys it conducted in May and early June.

Total populations were estimated at 49.2 million breeding ducks in the surveyed area, which is an 8 percent increase from last year's estimate of 45.6 million birds. It is a whopping 43 percent higher than the 1955-2013 long-term average. This continues a three-year trend of exceptional water conditions and population numbers for many species.

“I’m looking forward to it and hunters should as well,” said Jeff Knetter, Idaho Fish and Game's upland and migratory bird coordinator.

Breakdown by species:

Mallard: Up 5 percent from last year; up 42 percent from long-term average.

Gadwall: Up 14 percent from last year; up 102 percent from long-term average.

Wigeon: Up 18 percent from last year; up 20 percent from long-term average.

Canada geese setting wings for landing

Canada geese set wings for landing. goose numbers tend to fluctuate less than ducks and are abundant across North America.

Green-winged teal: Up 13 percent from last year; up 69 percent from long-term average.

Blue-winged teal: Up 10 percent from last year; up 75 percent from long-term average.

Northern shoveler: Up 11 percent from last year; up 114 percent from long-term average.

Pintail: Down 3 percent from last year; down 20 percent from the long-term average.

Redhead: Up 6 percent from last year; up 85 percent from long-term average.

Canvasback: Down 13 percent from last year; up 18 percent from long-term average.

Scaup: Up 11 percent from last year; down 8 percent from long-term average.


More Information:

Waterfowl Seasons and Rules