MDWFP recently completed the December 2012 Aerial Waterfowl Survey. Funded through a partnership with Delta Wildlife, MDWFP conducts these surveys several times each winter to estimate wintering waterfowl abundance. Mallards, northern shovelers, and gadwalls were the most frequently observed species. When compared to previous surveys, December 2012 duck estimates and available flooded habitat were relatively low. Mallards (122,779) and other dabblers (176,950) followed the same trend, with estimates below the past 4-year averages for this time of year. Mild winter weather conditions and the lack of flooded habitat most likely contributed to these relatively low estimates. However, the estimate of diving ducks (171,542) was greater than the recent 4-year average for December.
MDWFP Waterfowl Program Biologist Houston Havens states that, “Although waterfowl numbers are comparatively low, ducks are somewhat concentrated due to the lack of available habitat. Respectively, this concentration should result in quality hunting on well-managed wetlands. Additionally, waterfowl hunting conditions could be further enhanced if more birds migrate to Mississippi due to the severe weather conditions in the Midwest.”
The December 2012 Aerial Waterfowl Survey and distribution maps, as well as archived reports from previous surveys can be found at www.mdwfp.com/waterfowl. The next Aerial Waterfowl Survey is scheduled for January 2013.
Visit us online at www.mdwfp.com/waterfowl or call 601-432-2199 to receive more information on waterfowl hunting opportunities throughout the state.