I would say it all depends on how secure that big body of water is from pressure. If it's the roost, and it's open to hunting...I would be ready for a back up plan. I would say the same applies to ducks and geese.
It's going to be a tough fall, in my opinion. You're pretty aware of the backroads here Perry, so I'm sure you'll be able to scout out an area. If you seek out the low pressure areas, you'll probably find the birds.
The key will be finding water in lower pressure areas.I think areas in the eastern half of the state will get heavy pressure because of the same amount of hunters on less areas.If I was a NR and was will to drive a little further,I would look at the area west of Minot or north of DL along the Man. border.
I guess that I was thinking as much about Canada as North Dakota when I set up the hypothetical question.
It appears that the western part of Saskatchewan and Alberta are very dry. I would assume then that the migration will get nudged to the east into Manitoba, eastern North Dakota, and maybe western Minnesota. Or, will the ducks just find big water in Saskatchewan and try to overfly the Dakotas entirely. That does not seem to be a likely scenario given that it is so dry way out west. But, I don't know. I am just guessing. Hunting could actually be pretty good this year, if you are in the right spot. One of our best shoots ever was in 1987 when it was pretty dry. In 1991, when it was really dry, we did very well on geese but not the ducks. They always leave you guessing.
Didn't the reports say that breeding mallards are down 31% since their peak three years ago. And, spring pothole counts were down 41%.
Well the big push west of the flyway happened back during the last drought. Ducks & geese find the refuges or water that can't be hunted. Many of the huntable stuff that is scoutable from the towns that get all the NR's will be hit hard.
I actually had the best hunting of my life during that drought. But their were few NR's back then.
I'd sure love to see the birds come back thru east of DL like the used to ??? I'd guess the Clark Sayler area will be the Center of it all ??? I find myself doing less scouting every year as I have found bigger waters to put my boat in. I can't find time to hunt all the places I want to now.
I think it's food & weather more than water on the ground that effects the main migration routes. Actually it's normal for smaller wetlands / potholes to dry up. It's still pretty wet out there compared to the drought of the 80's.
With how bad things are in Alberta and Sask I've heard there a very few crops that didn't dry up. I think the ducks and geese will be able to find big water to roost on but might not be able to find food as readily. The area I hunt is actually still in pretty good shape so I'm not worried about water...just hunting pressure. I might try to hit some of the "bad" areas and field hunt and let everyone else crowd into the wet areas.
Geese : Salyer has dried (that is snow goose hunting - not ponds) up more than any other Northern staging area. Geese are essentially gone. Those that do stop in often sit north of the border or worse sit in ND and fly to Canada to feed. :crybaby: Kenmare also pretty much dead for snows. The giants and lessors still hang around in the fall.
I believe the east side of ND holds more early arrival snows than the west. An assorted mix of 25,000 snows around DL is more than 1,000 per refuge in the west. Neither offer that much hunting opps. West can still be fantastic is Sask/Man area gets socked with heavy snow.
Ducks : This will be a good year to field hunt mallards. Tightly posted sloughs and NWS refuges make good roost ponds for Mr. Greenhead and his bachelor brothers. A little scouting, a little wind, and a lot of greenheads should make for a fun morning or evening hunt.
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