Very wet summer conditions, matched with a good breeding season, have yielded a near record number of ducks for this hunting season in Wisconsin.
Last spring, the duck survey reported near record numbers for ducks in the Northern Zone of the State, and with wet summer and early fall conditions also helping duck numbers, hunters can look forward to good waterfowl hunting.
With the season opening September 24 and running until 22 November, it should be a banner year for dedicated waterfowlers and Assistant DNR migratory game bird ecologist, Taylor Finger, had this to say:
Although conditions were average to dry this spring, Wisconsin has seen abundant rainfall for most of the summer and even into early fall, Waterfowl hunters should have the potential for a good hunting season – continental breeding surveys spanning 61 years reported a near record numbers of ducks this spring.
Finger also commented that even in a great breeding year, scouting is still a mainstay for success.
Even with excellent continental breeding indications, local water levels and scouting will are most important factors when pursuing ducks this fall. Hunter survey data in Wisconsin show that duck hunters who scouted three or more times harvested on average 3-4 times as many ducks per season as those who did not scout.
A wet summer has had a positive impact on duck numbers, as many of the favorite species for hunters nest and breed in the State and they are dependent on other areas that may have experienced less than ideal conditions since the spring.
The bag limit for this upcoming season is six ducks, including no more than the following:
Four mallards (only one may be a hen), five mergansers (no more than two may be hooded mergansers), 15 coot daily, two canvasbacks, three wood ducks, two pintails, three scaup and two Redheads.
For further information and regulation guidelines on Wisconsin migratory bird hunting, see this link.