The duck count came out a week ago. This “count” is where the biologists estimate the number of ducks hanging out in ponds in the northern US and Canada. Most of these ducks have migrated north to these areas and are considered potential breeders for the late spring and summer. In the past–this count was a big determining factor on how the US and Canadian governments (and subsequently the individual states) would set the duck hunting season for the coming fall. These days it is not used in quite the same way as in the past but it can give us a pretty good idea of how many duck may be migrating south in the fall.
The Good new…many species of ducks are at or above their long term average ( the long term average uses yearly counts starting in 1955 to the present– the long term average calculates an average yearly number for the entire 63 year period). When you compare this years count, it is higher than than the 63 year long term year average!!
The Bad news…the overall breeding population from last year is down about 6 million ducks!! But we have to remember, last years numbers were some of the highest on record. While this years count is good, it is a decent decrease from last years record population!!
More bad news…the revered Pintail is down 40% from the long term average and about 500,000 birds from last year. In 1956, there were 10 million Pintail counted in US and Canada, This year. less than a quarter of that number. I think it is likely we will never see the pintail numbers that they saw in the 50’s and 60’s but hopefully, someday. maybe Pintail numbers can get back above the long term average.
If you would like to see the estimates from the 2018 count, you can click on following link: http://www.ducks.org/press-room/news-releases/duck-numbers-down-in-2018?poe=pressRoom
While this years count does not look all that great compared to last year–the truth of the matter is your duck hunting success in the fall and winter will be more dependent on weather, location and your skill as a hunter than the number of ducks they count in US and Canada. Last years all time high count translated to an average to below average year for me. So don’t be disheartened that this years numbers are less than last year. What we need to do is hope for lots of snow and cold weather to push the ducks out of Canada and the northern US and into the southern states where they should be spending their winters!!. However many ducks end up coming south, go out and enjoy the marsh because there are no guarantees in this life!! and oh by the way–take a kid hunting–the future of the sport depends on it!!