The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual fall wetland survey indicates good but variable wetland conditions for duck hunting throughout the state.
Migratory game bird biologist Andy Dinges said the northeast region has the highest number of wetlands holding water, while the south central and southeast have also seen improvement from last year’s fall wetland conditions. However, the northwest and north central regions of the state will have the fewest wetlands available for duck hunting opportunities since fall 2012.
“In general, wetland conditions are best in northeast, but other regions in the state have average to slightly below average fall wetland conditions,” Dinges said.
Dinges said this year’s moisture conditions began with fairly dry conditions in May, but were aided by steady precipitation throughout much of the state during mid-summer.
“Drying conditions in some regions should provide good loafing areas for waterfowl and cranes along wetlands, but can make hunting difficult in some cases if there is wide mud margin around wetlands,” Dinges added.
The quality of waterfowl hunting in North Dakota is largely determined by weather conditions and patterns. Dinges said strong reproduction for ducks in breeding areas both in and outside of North Dakota this year makes for good fall hunting potential.
“Hunters should always scout because of ever changing conditions and distribution of waterfowl,” Dinges said, “and should also be cautious driving off-trail to avoid soft spots, and while encountering areas of tall vegetation that could be a fire hazard.”
The fall wetland survey is conducted mid-September, just prior to the waterfowl hunting season, to provide an assessment of conditions duck hunters can expect.