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Author Topic: Mallard numbers?  (Read 3097 times)

Offline hdshot

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Mallard numbers?
« on: March 01, 2023, 08:14:26 PM »
Any predictions on mallard numbers this fall or breeding mallards going into 2024 breeding season?  As a waterfowl enthusiast and hunter, hoping for at least 2016 numbers of almost 12 million mallards instead of the disappointing number of just over 7 million reported by DU last year.
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Offline metlhead

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2023, 09:17:37 PM »
No idea about overall numbers, But I have heard it to be lower this season. Plenty came home with us this year that won't be making a return trip and I expect it'll be the same '23-'24.

Offline C-Money

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2023, 07:54:36 AM »
Mallards were hit or miss for us. We noticed where we usually see good numbers of them, their weren't any. We had a few locations we hunt that consistently had mallards. Other places was a mixed bag of gadwall & teal. We had a great season, but mallards were sketchy for us. Would love to see the numbers of the old days!!
I felt like a one legged cat trying to bury a terd on a frozen pond!

Offline hdshot

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2023, 08:46:16 PM »
Mallards were hit or miss for us. We noticed where we usually see good numbers of them, their weren't any. We had a few locations we hunt that consistently had mallards. Other places was a mixed bag of gadwall & teal. We had a great season, but mallards were sketchy for us. Would love to see the numbers of the old days!!

The good days of mallards on public land was so good I got tired of filling the freezer and got into goose.  Almost 5 million less mallards in just 6 years makes it very difficult for the 9 to fiver family public hunter to find them.  Maybe another boom is coming since California is saved with all that water and snow now they claimed have missed. Hope drakes don't like those California hens!
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Offline hdshot

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2023, 08:46:19 AM »
Did some in state traveling the past two weekends and seen a lot of sheet water and maybe only 5 mallards. Just remember as a kid easily seeing hundreds per sheet and on the wing.  The way they landed and skied across the shallows gave me the bug for waterfowl hunting riding with mom across the eastern part of the state to grandma's house.  My dad chased pheasants but can say Mom is who got me into the ducks and geese. Today looking at those blank ponds probably is doing nothing to get today's generation into the waterfowl hunt. 
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Offline metlhead

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2023, 10:19:02 AM »
Rest assured, they are out there. Many hens are sitting right now. Drakes are out cruising for hens. Not a lot of loaf time for critters that still play 'boy chase girl'

Offline hdshot

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2023, 04:24:15 PM »
Rest assured, they are out there. Many hens are sitting right now. Drakes are out cruising for hens. Not a lot of loaf time for critters that still play 'boy chase girl'

I hope so but DU says mallard numbers have dropped from almost 13 million to just over 7 million in just a short 5-6 years.
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Offline wadu1

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2023, 04:42:20 PM »
On the west side the sheet water in the Puyallup valley is loaded. Must have seen 50-60 pairs in one little stretch yesterday. The swans left about three weeks ago and more geese than in past years.
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Offline Stein

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2023, 04:43:52 PM »
Same up here in the Stilly valley, swans are gone but ducks and geese are choking many sheet water fields.

Offline hdshot

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2023, 05:04:16 PM »
Didnít see many geese either like I seen earlier in the year after season with very few to no ducks on the east side. But geese definitely on the nest now or paired not flocked.
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Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2023, 07:11:14 AM »
I know as a whole, the state of Washington is well above our mallard harvest goals for the flyway, meaning we harvest to many mallards in the forecast models.  I am sure the corn ponds and private clubs are a leading culprit to this.  Also mallard production in the state is significantly down due to poor habitat conditions.  Hopefully a good production up north will help the mallard numbers.  Wish we still had local mallard product above 1 million birds, but that has significantly declined.
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Offline metlhead

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2023, 07:47:37 AM »
I think habitat conditions are actually very good. Got me thinking about something though. We all know how nasty geese can be while nesting. Think the very high numbers of canadas have pushed ducks out of small nesting locations?

Offline Mfowl

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2023, 08:41:52 AM »
Drought in Central Canada and the Dakotas for several years now has diminished the "duck factory" of the Prairie Pothole region. It sounds like N Dakota at least has experienced considerable snow this winter which is expected to replenish the wetlands. Hopefully Canada got some of that as well. A lot of our migrators come from this region.
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Offline hunterednate

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2023, 02:31:05 PM »
I know as a whole, the state of Washington is well above our mallard harvest goals for the flyway, meaning we harvest to many mallards in the forecast models.  I am sure the corn ponds and private clubs are a leading culprit to this.  Also mallard production in the state is significantly down due to poor habitat conditions.  Hopefully a good production up north will help the mallard numbers.  Wish we still had local mallard product above 1 million birds, but that has significantly declined.

This is true. If we stay at the current mallard harvest rate without increased production, we could be looking at lower limits or shorter seasons in the coming years.

Offline vandeman17

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2023, 04:37:59 PM »
I know as a whole, the state of Washington is well above our mallard harvest goals for the flyway, meaning we harvest to many mallards in the forecast models.  I am sure the corn ponds and private clubs are a leading culprit to this.  Also mallard production in the state is significantly down due to poor habitat conditions.  Hopefully a good production up north will help the mallard numbers.  Wish we still had local mallard product above 1 million birds, but that has significantly declined.

This is true. If we stay at the current mallard harvest rate without increased production, we could be looking at lower limits or shorter seasons in the coming years.

We have been spoiled too long with a crazy long season and very liberal limits. I wouldn't mind if they set bag daily bag limits on mallards if their numbers continue to slide 
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Offline Stein

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2023, 05:37:26 PM »
Problem is we're just one state, if there is an issue I would prefer to see the feds deal with it so everyone is on a level playing field.  I know many others are below 7, but WA seems to be more of a one way trip.  Look at our snow limit and swan ban and many will argue if we go to a 5 (or fewer) mallard limit, it won't ever go back no matter how many there are.  I would tend to agree with that notion given recent commission activities and viewpoints.

Personally, I don't shoot 7 very often and I can't remember ever shooting a straight 7 mallard bag so it's not a huge deal for me.

Offline metlhead

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2023, 07:44:11 PM »
I primarily hunt the westside and just see increases in all bird numbers. Low numbers will only be used as an excuse to chisel away the season until most folks won't utilize it. No use, shut it down. Look what has happened to our bluebill seasons. I imagine much different season structures often, but never to reduce opportunity.

Offline hdshot

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2023, 04:57:04 PM »
I primarily hunt the westside and just see increases in all bird numbers. Low numbers will only be used as an excuse to chisel away the season until most folks won't utilize it. No use, shut it down. Look what has happened to our bluebill seasons. I imagine much different season structures often, but never to reduce opportunity.

My experience is there was a 2 week shutdown in October back when I started mid 80ís plus the season was closed early January for ducks.  Also daily limit was 3 mallards while over fields looked like seagulls over the local dump.  Now numbers crashed and to harvest money for licensing fees, season were extended and daily limit went up. The game department knows the average joe canít shoot them into extinction following game laws.  If anything the product is so bad for the middle man atm things will keep going against common sense so we keep buying and hoping.
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Offline metlhead

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2023, 08:50:02 PM »
Maybe it is just something that you folks on the eastside are experiencing, cause there seems no shortage of them over here during both hunting and nesting seasons.

Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2023, 09:30:01 PM »
Maybe it is just something that you folks on the eastside are experiencing, cause there seems no shortage of them over here during both hunting and nesting seasons.

The challenge on the east side, is the big clubs are planting crops and holding most of the birds.  They have changed the flyway in many cases.  When you have the triangle hold 100k plus mallards and only club guys, private entities or guided hunters at Eagle Lakes get an opportunity at them.  When many are looking for birds, Eagle Lakes will shoot 35-50 limits daily of birds.  When one location like Eagle Lakes, is harvesting over 20k birds a season, it can have a direct effect on numbers and distribution of waterfowl.
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Offline metlhead

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2023, 06:19:20 AM »
Understood, but says to me that mallard numbers are still doing well. Distribution is bad.

Offline hdshot

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2023, 03:57:15 PM »
Alaska has done very well and I would guess the bulk of ducks would stay west and west Alberta once was the mallard factory for the east part of the state. Just a un educated guess looking at the pacific flyway maps. Also the past 2 summers over here have been very destructive and hope that wonít continue.
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Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2023, 05:42:23 PM »
Understood, but says to me that mallard numbers are still doing well. Distribution is bad.

In this state, production numbers are way down.  I saw it used to be close to a million birds and now it is closer to 150K.
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Offline hunterednate

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2023, 10:39:55 AM »
Maybe it is just something that you folks on the eastside are experiencing, cause there seems no shortage of them over here during both hunting and nesting seasons.

The challenge on the east side, is the big clubs are planting crops and holding most of the birds.  They have changed the flyway in many cases.  When you have the triangle hold 100k plus mallards and only club guys, private entities or guided hunters at Eagle Lakes get an opportunity at them.  When many are looking for birds, Eagle Lakes will shoot 35-50 limits daily of birds.  When one location like Eagle Lakes, is harvesting over 20k birds a season, it can have a direct effect on numbers and distribution of waterfowl.

Yes, this is absolutely part of the equation. The problem is not just mallard production, but harvest rate of mallards (assessed by band report data). The current harvest rate is not sustainable when coupled with habitat loss locally and drought conditions in the Alaskan/Canadian breeding grounds. Flooded corn compounds attract mallards to shotgun barrels with extreme effectiveness, which undoubtedly contributes to the rising harvest rate. Like mallard meth, especially in severe winter weather.

Offline metlhead

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2023, 03:01:38 PM »
This is similar to the salmon debacle. Multiple reasons that numbers are down, non-human predation being the top problem. Easy to fix but will never happen. Point at the sportsperson and reduce! These reductions do not work because the real problems persist. Personally, I am not in favor of any move to reduce opportunity.

Offline hdshot

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2023, 11:48:50 AM »
Understood, but says to me that mallard numbers are still doing well. Distribution is bad.

In this state, production numbers are way down.  I saw it used to be close to a million birds and now it is closer to 150K.

Wow, way worse than I thought.  My hunting partner should apologize because I'm trying to ring the alarm with facts but he acted like a captain that absolutely lost his ship because he thought I was only being negative.  Now he never invites me over to the people he hunts with on their awesome land which is fine but he brings them over to our spot which puts all his ethics at rock bottom.   He did ask if ok before his mishap and was good because kids were involved and felt I needed to do my part to save our sport. For Him he doesn't care about people politically on his side and throws the people out of the circle that take responsibility.  Recently there have been serious gun control laws signed because of behavior like this over time and he is not the only one.  Most people in my position just move on only to think about health care and education instead of staying focused on the many challenges sportsman and law-abiding gun owners face.
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Offline hdshot

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2023, 05:25:19 PM »
Hope residents and the areas of the duck factory are ok! https://beta.ctvnews.ca/local/edmonton/2023/5/5/1_6385732.amp.html
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Offline hdshot

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2023, 10:46:58 AM »
Not looking good for Alberta. 
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Offline hdshot

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2023, 09:23:56 PM »
Sad to see wildfire smoke migrating into eastern Washington from Canada this early in the year.
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Offline Special T

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2023, 09:47:48 PM »
I primarily hunt the westside and just see increases in all bird numbers. Low numbers will only be used as an excuse to chisel away the season until most folks won't utilize it. No use, shut it down. Look what has happened to our bluebill seasons. I imagine much different season structures often, but never to reduce opportunity.

My experience is there was a 2 week shutdown in October back when I started mid 80ís plus the season was closed early January for ducks.  Also daily limit was 3 mallards while over fields looked like seagulls over the local dump.  Now numbers crashed and to harvest money for licensing fees, season were extended and daily limit went up. The game department knows the average joe canít shoot them into extinction following game laws.  If anything the product is so bad for the middle man atm things will keep going against common sense so we keep buying and hoping.

It was also in the 80s when we lost the separate bag limit for Merganser. We never got that back  and we have ample reasons to reinstitiute it now. Aka salmon
In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself. 

Confucius

Offline hdshot

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Re: Mallard numbers?
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2023, 03:24:19 PM »
Getting worse here in e wa from the Canadian wildfires.
Don't read my post if facts hurt your feeling.

 


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