Waterfowl season expectations

Published: Sep. 17, 2022 at 9:18 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - There are a lot of hunting opportunities available in the fall.

Mike Anderson gives us a preview of what hunters can expect in the upcoming waterfowl season.

North Dakota wetland habitats rebounded nicely following severe drought conditions in 2021, providing better prospects for duck production in the state this year.

“So coming out of spring we had the early blizzard. Mallard production was probably impacted the most, not in a great way so we’re down a little bit on mallard production. But our other upland nesting ducks like blue-winged teal, pintails, gadwall, shoveler all did really well this year. Blue-wing teal are going to be the high point. Overwater nesters like redhead and canvasback also did really well this year,” said waterfowl biologist Mike Szymanski.

Szymanski says he doesn’t expect an overly strong duck migration due to long-term dry conditions in Prairie Canada. With the lack of moisture and hot temperatures during late summer in North Dakota, wetlands are drying up.

“Hunters are going to have to look hard to find good hunting spots, but hopefully ducks will be concentrated a little bit more this year and duck numbers a little bit higher,” said Szymanski.

There is one noteworthy change to this year’s waterfowl season.

“This year we combined the merganser bag limit into the duck bag limit, so it’s no longer separated. There’s no longer a separate hooded merganser restriction. Mergansers that you harvest will count towards your duck bag limit,” said Szymanski.

Szymanski says goose hunting should be good this year. When hitting the field this fall there are a few things hunters should be aware of.

Mike: “We always want to make sure that people are looking into aquatic nuisance species regulations and guidelines, and also anything pertaining to boating safety as well. It’s always important this year for hunters to be mindful of their activities, always being careful where they’re parking with regard to harvesting operations that are going on, making sure they’re well off of roads, not blocking field approaches, things like that, but also being well aware of fire hazards,” said Szymanski.