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Wetlands Extremely Dry in Central, Western Parts of State

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's annual fall wetland survey indicates approximately 23 percent fewer wetlands available for duck hunting than last year. Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird biologist, said the number of wetlands decreased statewide, but huntable conditions persist further east in the state.

"Hunters will definitely need to get out and scout to find places to hunt," Szymanski said.

Most of the state had little spring run-off, but the northeastern and southeastern portions of the state had more water carry over from last fall, Szymanski said. Additionally, heavy rains in late September in some isolated areas further east likely improved conditions after the survey was completed.

Wetland numbers continue to decline in the central and northwestern portions of the state as drought conditions persist. "Few wetlands remain in the western two-thirds of the state, and although conditions declined statewide, the eastern one-third of the state certainly has huntable water," Szymanski said.

Wetland habitats across North Dakota have been declining in recent years due to drought. Minimal runoff because of a lack of snow, and infrequent summer rains, did not replenish wetlands any further than about 20 miles west of U.S. Highway 281, Szymanski said. "Drying of wetlands is all part of the natural cycle that they need to go through to remain productive," he added. "Unfortunately, many places that people have hunted in recent years will likely be dry again, or for the first time in many years."

The wetland survey is conducted in mid-September just prior to the waterfowl hunting season to provide an assessment of conditions duck hunters can expect.
 

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The couple inches we got around here a few days ago didn't hurt. Some of the sloughs that have been bone dry all Summer have a bit of water in them...
 

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Wished you guys got the rain and snow we have received this year. On a positive side these droughts will hopefully curve the giant reeds and milfoil from spreading any more than it needs to. Last year we saw an increase in exotic vegetation on many wetlands that were not present in years past.
 

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I've got a question..
How many years has it been since North Dakota has received average or above average precipitation in the northwest to southeast waterfowl region?
Please, don't reply with some link from some weather internet site. I simply would like to hear from those of you who follow the weather.
From my recollection, it was 2002.
 
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