Record or near-record duck numbers the last two years meant that a lot of ducks returned to breed this spring. Ducks found excellent water conditions in nearly all of Montana this spring, the best in several years, and there will be a lot of ducks produced in Montana this year. Another reason the water in Montana is great news for waterfowl hunters is that there will be more areas to hunt, as the water in many places is likely to last into the fall, more so than in most years.
Overall duck numbers from the traditional survey areas (surveyed in the same way since 1955) are 10 percent above the long-term average. Canada geese continue to do well.
Some parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta were quite dry this spring and summer, but Montana has exceptional water conditions over most of the state. Some wetlands have the highest water levels that long-time local residents can remember. A lot of ducks are being produced in Montana, and there will be a lot of places to hunt ducks. Duck and goose season start Sept. 28, and there is a youth only waterfowl season the previous weekend, Sept 21 and 22.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website (http://fws.gov/birds) has the Waterfowl Status Report (based on the May breeding duck surveys), which gives the overall duck estimates and estimates by species. Survey results can also be found on the Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl websites.
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