AR: Weekly Waterfowl Report for December 14, 2011
The following report is a compilation of state reports and waterfowl surveys from across Arkansas. This report provides a look at habitat conditions across the state.
Abundance of water good news, bad news for hunters
LITTLE ROCK – There's no shortage of waterfowl habitat across The Natural State, and while it's good news for wintering waterfowl, the abundant water on the landscape is both a blessing and a curse for waterfowl hunters.
The increase in waterfowl habitat is good for the ducks because it provides plenty of places to feed and rest. But hunters may find that ducks are scattered in various locations.
Field reports from around the state indicate fair to good success among many hunters, but some of the same reports indicate good hunting success one day and then poor success the next. It's likely a result of ducks having plenty of places to go to avoid hunting pressure.
The upside of the abundant rainfall is that most of the state's wildlife management areas are full of water, providing ample opportunities for the state's duck hunters. Current conditions are in stark contrast to last year's duck season, when most areas had little available water, forcing hunters into smaller areas with more hunting pressure.
"During conditions like these, it's important that hunters do some homework in the form of scouting," said Luke Naylor, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission waterfowl program coordinator. "We've seen in past aerial surveys that ducks often use non-traditional habitats during these conditions, so checking these types of areas can pay dividends for hunters willing to put in a little extra work."
AGFC biologists are attempting to fly the state's second round of aerial waterfowl surveys this week, but they've been largely unable to fly as a result of poor flying conditions, including thick fog in many parts of the state. Duck counts should be available next week pending completion of the survey flights. If weather conditions prohibit flights in the coming days, survey results may not be published until after Christmas.
Results from the November aerial survey may be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/AGFCaerialsurveys.
Several eastern Arkansas WMAs continue to have access problems as a result of high water levels. Details on road and ramp closures may be found in the capsule information in this report.
While this waterfowl report seeks to provide information that is as timely as possible, hunters should keep in mind there's often a lag of two or three days between the time field reports are received and this report is published. Thus, actual water levels and percentage of flooded habitat may differ from what's reported here. The AGFC encourages hunters to check stream gauges (links are provided at the end of this report) and physically scout potential hunting areas to determine actual field conditions.
To assist waterfowl hunters with the latest information, the AGFC provides links to sources on waterfowl location and abundance in Arkansas and other states. The links are available at http://www.agfc.com/hunting/Pages/HuntingWaterfowlReport.aspx#1.
This waterfowl report provides capsule information from agency staff in all corners of Arkansas and is updated each Wednesday throughout waterfowl season.
Sunrise/sunset tables are available at: http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/astronomical-applications/data-services/rs-one-day-us and in the Arkansas Waterfowl Regulations Guide.