Plenty of ducks, geese and swans will be available to hunters in Utah this fall.  But how long will the birds stay?

That’s something hunters are wondering about as the start of Utah’s general waterfowl hunt approaches Oct. 5.

Blair Stringham says this past spring was a good one for waterfowl in the western United States and Canada.  That includes waterfowl in Utah.

“In addition to the birds that will migrate through the state,” says Stringham, migratory game bird coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, “plenty of birds were produced locally.”

Stringham is concerned, though, that once shooting starts on the marshes, the birds won’t have enough places to go to escape the hunting pressure.  Having places to escape hunting pressure is important for the birds and for hunters.

When birds have a place to go to escape hunting pressure, they’ll remain on those areas for most of the day before flying back into the marshes to feed.  When the birds fly back into the marshes, hunters can have some great hunting.

Stringham says being in the right place at the right time is the key to having a successful hunt this fall.  “If you’re in the marsh at the start of the season,” he says, “locally produced birds and early migrants should provide some great hunting.”

Once hunting pressure pushes these birds out of Utah, being in the marsh when larger flocks of migrating birds arrive will be the key to success.

“If you’re in the marsh when these new groups arrive,” he says, “you should have good hunting.  The birds probably won’t stay long before heading south, though.”

You can learn more about this year’s hunt, and obtain information about water conditions at the state’s waterfowl management areas before the Oct. 5 opener, at http://go.usa.gov/DUTH.

The same information is also available at http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/hunting/hunting-information/waterfowl.html.

Image courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife resources

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