I’m afraid the following migration report may be a bit stale. Regardless here’s the scoop from early this week. Understand when weather like this falls into the region migration status will change from day 2 day and hour 2 hour. thanks to Ken Torkelson and my friends at USFWS–
In northeastern North Dakota, many of the local ducks have grouped together
and few migrants have arrived, so hunters will have to do their scouting.
Biologist Cami Dixon of the Devils Lake Wetland Management District reports
seeing fewer mallards and more diving ducks this week. She adds that a few
more migrant Canada geese have arrived, but there are no large numbers of
snow geese yet.
Waterfowl numbers have dropped at Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge, north
of Jamestown. Biologist Paulette Scherr says the duck population has
dipped to 20,000, with about half of them mallards and the rest a good mix
including 1,500 diving ducks. The Refuge is also holding 2,000 Canada
geese and 300 tundra swans. Some small flocks of both migrant and resident
Canada geese are being seen in the surrounding area, with larger wetlands
holding good numbers of diving ducks.
Some migrant ducks are expected to arrive in southeastern North Dakota
after the cold front pushes through, but teal and local birds are moving
out. Biologist Kristine Askerooth of Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge
says the area still has good pockets of ducks and Canada geese, but hunters
will have to work harder. She reports the bean harvest is progressing
rapidly, and corn harvesting has started.
East-central North Dakota’s duck population is on the increase. Wetland
manager Ed Meendering of the Valley City Wetland Management District says
he has seen quite a few more mallards this week, plus an increase in Canada
geese. On the other hand, Meendering says he has not yet seen any migrant
Canada geese, snow geese or sandhill cranes.
Waterfowl populations seem to be holding steady in southeast-central North
Dakota. Mick Erickson of the Kulm Wetland Management District says the
area still has good numbers of local mallards and gadwalls, and larger
flocks of resident Canada geese are being reported. However, most teal
have departed. He reports the best water conditions are in eastern Logan
and McIntosh counties.
More diving ducks have moved into Stutsman and Wells counties. Chase Lake
Wetland Management District manager Tomi Buskness reports some of the local
ducks have moved out, but there are still some mallards, Canada geese and
sandhill cranes in the area.
Cold temperatures have iced over many wetlands and driven much of the
waterfowl out of northwestern North Dakota. Refuge manager Tim Kessler of
the Crosby Wetland Management District says several days of warmer weather
will be needed to open up the wetlands. He reports there are lots of
ducks and geese remaining in southern Saskatchewan.
Many of Mountrail County’s remaining small wetlands have iced over and
local ducks have moved on. However, operations specialist Chad Zorn of
Lostwood Wetland Management District says some migrant mallards in flocks
of 20-40 birds appear to have moved in. He reports seeing very few snow
More waterfowl have reached Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge near Kenmare.
Manager Dan Severson says the Refuge is holding 1,500 snow geese, about
2,500 Canada geese and 20,000 ducks. Most of the snow geese are on the
north end of the Refuge, the Canada geese are a mixture of residents and
migrants, and mallards make up about half the duck numbers, with local
gadwalls, teal and pintails well represented. Severson says he is seeing
about 900 tundra swans, a much higher number than normal. He cautions that
cold weather could quickly and drastically change the situation.
Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge near Minot was holding about 20,000
ducks over the weekend. Deputy refuge manager Tom Pabian says the ducks
are scattered, but most are concentrated on the north end. The Refuge is
also holding about 2,000 Canada geese, but only a few small flocks of snow
geese. Pabian says hunters will need to do some driving to find the
western Ward County wetlands holding water, because many of them have
A few more ducks have reached J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge in
north-central North Dakota. Project leader Tedd Gutzke believes the Refuge
is holding about 10,000 mallards, but only about 500 snow geese in groups
of 25-50 on the north end. Also, some 2,000 Canada geese are scattered
throughout the Refuge. Gutzke reports the five-county area is dry, with
Rolette and northern Pierce counties offering the best water conditions.
He says hunters should be able to find ducks where there is water.
Up to 5,000 Canada geese and 3,000 ducks are using Audubon National
Wildlife Refuge near Coleharbor. Wetland manager Mike Goos reports a
significant migration of sandhill cranes last weekend and early this week.
He has also observed a gradual increase in the number of migrant Canada
geese. In the surrounding areas, hunters will need to scout, as ducks have
been hard to find. He believes the forecast cold temperatures could bring
in more migrant Canada geese and ice over many wetlands, further
Duck hunters in Burleigh, Kidder and Emmons counties will probably notice
the exodus of birds that has taken place over the past week. Biologist
Gregg Knutsen of Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge reports seeing many
empty wetlands at mid-week. He says the Refuge is holding a modest
concentration of ducks, mostly shovelers and gadwalls. Knutsen adds the
Refuge’s sandhill crane population has dropped to 2,500, and Canada goose
numbers are at about 1,500.
Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern South Dakota has
recorded increases in the numbers of Canada geese and ducks. The Refuge is
holding 2,000 Canada geese and 60,000 ducks. Biologist Bill Schultze says
mallard and green-winged teal populations are up, and ruddy ducks and
lesser scaup are also showing up. He reports the area’s corn harvest is
just beginning, but many farmers have completed their soybean harvest.
Field checks continue to find violations of the “hunter’s choice”bag limit.
The daily limit is five ducks, with these restrictions: two scaup, two
redhead and two wood duck; and only one from the following group: hen
mallard, pintail and canvasback. Officers say the best way for hunters to
avoid “mistakes” is to make positive identification of their target before
pulling the trigger.
In addition, some hunters have not had the required “duck stamp” in their
possession, and others are failing to sign the stamp.