Get The Duck Out: The Drought’s Affect On North Dakota’s Ducks
Big shocker right. Waterfowl need WATER. Not good news for North Dakota duck hunters and the upcoming 2021 season set to begin at the end of September. I know, it might be a little early to be thinking about hunting season already, but anybody who knows me, it's ALWAYS bird season at my house.
According to a report from the North Dakota Game and Fish, this drought is really starting to take it's toll on our wetlands, and that in turn is going to affect the number of ducks in this years fall flight. Water and ducks go hand and hand. We are dryer than we've ever been, according to some outlets. Here's the latest drought monitor map. Much of the state is in an exceptional or extreme drought conditions. This includes some of the prime waterfowl nesting habitat areas.
The North Dakota Game and Fish says the breeding pairs of ducks are down 30% in the state from last year. Again, less water means less nesting. The pond index is also down 80% from last year. That is a very significant number. That's the largest decrease EVER in 74 years of keeping records by the North Dakota Game & Fish. It's also 68% down from the long-term average. YIKES! I noticed that first hand last weekend as we traveled south of Jamestown, and worked our way into northeast South Dakota. Much of the small wetlands were dry or drying up. Never a pretty sight for the duck hunter like myself. Things are not much better in the prairie pothole region of Canada either.
Last duck season, North Dakota saw a HUGE influx of out of state hunters due to the Canadian border being closed. That hasn't changed at the time of this article, and you can only imagine the pressure with less water, less ducks and more hunters.
The North Dakota Game and Fish says don't expect a whole lot from this coming duck season in North Dakota. The brood index for the state will be conducted coming up in July. That will give us another snapshot of how bad it might this coming duck season in North Dakota.
Have I mentioned that we need rain?
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