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Banded Waterfowl

8136 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Decoyer
Greetings fellow hunters:

I was wondering how many people have actually been lucky (or skillful, if you were shooting straight that day ) in obtaining a piece of metal jewelery for your call lanyards. I have been hunting for 22 years and shot my first banded drake mallard last fall near McClusky. The drake was banded in Wisconsin in April, 2001 and I shot the bird in the third week of October. Interesting migration path to say the least.

The USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is in charge of keeping track of all game and non-game birds that have received a band. Their website is if anyone is interested in the history of bird banding.

Also, since the bird banding program was transferred to the biological resource division of the USGS from USFWS, they are undergoing a "re-engineering" of the program. One of the biggest changes USGS implemented is the use of the 1-800-327-BAND phone number for reporting of bands. Amazingly, only 32% of banded mallards taken by hunters were reported to the BBL.

If any of you have been lucky enough to get a band and did not report it, shame on you . And if you haven't reported it, do call 1-800-327-band and give them the information, even if it has been years since you shot the bird. They will appreciate any information, because it is so valuable.
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I've shot 4 banded birds in the 35 years I've been hunting. 3 within the last 2 years.
1. Greater Canada - 15 years ago just off Teawauken Refuge. He was the lead goose in a v coming off the refuge. Leg band.
2. Snow goose - Saskatchewan. Leg band. Mature adult banded in Saskatchewan. 2 years ago.
3. Imature blue goose - Saskatchewan. Leg band and red neck band. Banded in Russia.
A very high group of geese came over in a V. They were so high I aimed at the lead goose and the 4th one fell in the line. Lucky.
4. Pintail Drake - ND last year. Banded in Bottineau, ND. I shot at this along with a younger hunter. I assured him he had probably gotten the duck. Better to make a younger hunter happy than claim something both had shot at. He more than likely got it anyway.

I'v seen the guides in the videos with all the bands around their necks on their lanyards. They must be hunting near areas where the birds are banded. As I said, I've been hunting many years and have only seen 4 in our groups.
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FieldHunter, I still think you shot that pintail, wonder what Decoyer has to say about about who shot it?

"If it fly's it dies"

[ This Message was edited by: GooseBuster3 on 2002-04-22 16:45 ]
I've shot 8 bands, and one is questionable.

Drake Mallard-banded near Upham. First band, on the wall behind me at work.

Drake Mallard-banded near Upham. Taken by the Plant.

Drake Mallard-banded in Illinois. Taken 2 years ago by the Plant, it was at least 5 years old.

Drake Mallard-banded in Sask. Taken by Lakota 7 years ago. It was at least 3 years old.

Hen Mallard(whoops) - banded by Upham, taken by Ludden in 98. It was an immature.

Canada Goose- banded by Jametown, taken by VC('00) At least 3 years old.

Canada Goose- Banded in Iowa in '95, I took it by Lake Audobon in '00.

Canada Goose- Banded in Alberta in '97, taken by Washburn in '99.

Snow Goose (questionable who shot it). - Taken in Nebraska last spring by Fairbury. It was at least 8 years old and banded by Churchill Man.

Finding out the history of the band is as fun as harvesting one in my opinion.
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I shot my first band last year. It was a Drake that was banded at Kramer last year. He was a juvie and had his jewerly only 22 days before I shot him by Litchville. When I came home that day my wifes' response was, "now I don't have to hear you complain for a couple more years!"
I've got 6 bands so. 4 greenheads, 1 hen mallrd that was a mistake bird, but a darn lucky mistake bird, and 1 drake pintail. I was lucky enough to get 2 of those bands this fall in Manitoba, a greenhead and the drake pintail.
An interesting story... back in 1999 me and my buddy both got banded greenheads, his was the last duck shot on our 1st trip of the fall to Manitoba and mine was the last duck shot on my second trip that fall to Manitoba with my son. His mallard was 9 years old and banded near Thunder Bay Ont. of all places.
I agree with chris, its always a treat to recieve a band report and find out the info on a bird you shot.
I forgot to tell the story of how my buddy found a banded drake mallard that had been deceased, for quite a while. We were set up in a typical small prairie pothole, not more than 80 yards across and three feet deep in the middle. Anyway, my buddy sails a drake mallard into the adjacent stubble field. We knew the bird was dead, so we figured we would pick him up on the way back to the truck. About a half hour later, my buddy notices something heading toward the hilltop. Here it was a skunk and he must have smelt the dead bird and figured he could get a free lunch. So we run up the hill to collect the bird, and hopefully shoot the skunk. We found the bird but the skunk saw us coming and headed the other direction. So, we head back to the slough and notice the skunk has doubled back and is heading for our setup. So we hunker down in the vegetation and let him get about 40 yards from us and then let him have it. Of course, being guys, we have to go and take a look at the destruction. On the way back to our spread, my buddy stumbles across a dead bird that was in the vegetation along the slough and notices a leg band. We couldn't tell if it was a hen or a drake, but he called it in and it was a drake mallard out of Sask. So the moral of this longwinded story (sorry guys, I guess you had to be there), they aren't always on alive birds :grin:.
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There are several large banding efforts underway in North America. Several large banding efforts on snow geese across the Arctic (lots of neck bands will be put on). There have also been some major banding efforts going on for ND ducks over the past few years. Should be more jewelry flying around than ever.

Anyway - a few comments in regards to the southern hunters and guides with lots of bands.

1) hunters and guides in Arkansas get more bands than just about anywhere else. The reason is mallards are banded more than any other waterfowl. Mallards from both the MS and Central Flyways tend to winter pretty heavily in Arkansas. I know hunters in Louisiana and Texas who have never seen banded ducks because they tend to shoot a lot of wigeon, teal, and gadwall.

2) guides will almost always claim the bands from any duck shot in their party. If a successful guide is running through a lot of hunters - I am sure they can ring up quite a few bands over a few short years in time - especially if you are in Arkansas.

3) EBAY. Believe it or not you can purchase bands and neck bands on the net. EBAY auctions often have many duck bands for sale. If you are wealthy and want to appear like a big time hunter - I guess you can buy a bunch of bands.
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I have heard that the reason that a lot of the goose guides that hunt in the mega goose states like southern Il. have so many bands because they used to band birds in the winter, so off of the refuges there would be a very high concentration of banded geese.
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