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DU Migration Alert: Optimism in the Forecast for Pacific Flyway Waterfowlers

By Bill Monroe, WF360 Pacific Flyway Migration Editor

Pacific Flyway waterfowlers have been impatiently waiting for weather to push ducks out of Prairie Canada and British Columbia. With extended weather forecasts calling for a hard freeze north of the border early next week, Idaho duck hunters may need to rethink their plans.

"I think this will be the week," says Chris Colson, DU regional biologist in Boise, Idaho.

Colson's optimism stems from predictions for rapidly falling temperatures across western Canada beginning Monday. Many ducks typically move out when their shallow-water feeding and roosting areas freeze up tight. He has also heard reports of masses of ducks migrating south from northeastern Idaho into the lower Snake River Basin.

"That's a typical pattern," Colson says. "They move in across the panhandle and then spread out across the state. We've got lots of open water, and the harvest has been late, so there should be plenty of food for them.

"If the southward push of ducks continues, it will be welcome news throughout the Pacific Flyway, where with a few exceptions, duck hunting has slowed considerably after opening weekend.

Colson explains that many Idaho waterfowlers have been concentrating on geese, which have been more abundant than ducks in many locations. Lessers, cacklers, and honkers are being reported in massive numbers in parts of Washington and Oregon, while growing numbers of snows and whitefronts have been trickling into northern California.

Waterfowlers across the flyway will continue to focus on Canadian weather conditions as the advancing freeze-up begins Monday in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, and then moves east.

Bill Monroe is an Oregon-based freelance writer who has hunted the Pacific Flyway for three decades. Monroe will provide hunting and habitat reports throughout the Pacific Flyway for the 2014-2015 waterfowl season.


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