Hunters should be optimistic after reading the results of the Wisconsin Waterfowl Survey.
Waterfowl populations are in good standing for the 2017 season. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, duck populations are up 23 % compared to the 2016 estimates. Duck populations for this year are estimated at 479,099. This is also 9 % above the long-term average. The largest increase was found in blue-winged teal populations.
Goose populations are also faring well, with numbers staying stable at roughly 140,000. This is consistent with the state's 10-year average.
A combination of factors has led to the healthy waterfowl populations. A mild winter, with above average rainfall in the spring, has improved the state's wetland habitat. The timing of rainfall is essential during the brood-rearing period, and the April and May rainfall came at the perfect time.
Positive numbers may also reflect success in the state's management efforts, including limiting mallard harvest and emphasizing habitat improvement. Considering that the majority of Wisconsin's mallard harvest is the result of local duck populations, these factors are essential in providing sustainable hunting opportunities.
Full results from the waterfowl survey can be found in the Wisconsin DNR's official breeding population brochure, which can be found by clicking here.
Results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service waterfowl survey for the continent will be released in July.