According to a recent report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), overall duck numbers in North America remain at high levels, which is fantastic news for waterfowl hunters. While a couple species such as scaup (bluebills) and pintails are still a concern, most populations are above long-term averages.

In the traditional survey area, total populations are estimated at 47.3 million breeding ducks. Last year’s estimate was 48.4 million. The 2017 figure is 34 percent above the long-term average for the years 1955-2016. In other words, the 2017 duck season, which is just around the corner, should be outstanding!

“The surveys indicate that wetland conditions and populations of most frequently harvested ducks remain above the long-term average, and for most species, populations were at or above those from last year,” said Ducks Unlimited Chief Scientist Tom Moorman. “This is great news for waterfowlers, who can now turn their attention to preparing habitat, tuning up dogs and relentlessly watching the weather forecasts for the onset of fall and winter weather that will push the birds on their annual southward migration.”

When it comes to mallards, the most popular species for duck hunters, estimates for 2017 are 10.5 million, which is 11 percent lower than in 2016, but 34 percent higher than the long-term average.

Images courtesy of Ducks Unlimited

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