2017 Duck Report Contains a Mixed Forecast for Atlantic Flyway

2017 Duck Report Contains a Mixed Forecast for Atlantic Flyway
While numbers are down this year for black ducks and ring-necked ducks, 2017 breeding duck numbers for mallards, green-winged teal, goldeneyes and hooded mergansers are up this year in the Eastern Survey Area for the Atlantic Flyway. (Lynn Burkhead photo)

While the annual duck breeding population and pond count survey contains good news for duck hunters in the Mississippi, Central and Pacific Flyways, hunters back east along the Atlantic Seaboard have a mix of good and bad news

Waterfowlers in the western two-thirds of the U.S. sat up and took notice thanks to the good news brought about by the August 15 release of the 2017 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations survey.

While the report of 47.3 million breeding ducks this year in the fabled "Duck Factory" of the northern U.S. and Southern Canada breeding grounds is certainly good news, that's true primarily for hunters in North America's Mississippi, Central and Pacific Flyways.

But what should duck hunting enthusiasts on the Eastern Seaboard expect in the Atlantic Flyway this fall?

According to Delta Waterfowl (www.deltawaterfowl.org), results for the continent's Eastern Survey Area are a bit more mixed than they are out west.


On the positive side of things, the Eastern mallard index is up 7 percent this summer versus a year ago with 445,000 greenheads in 2017 as compared to 413,000 in 2016. That 2017 greenhead figure is also some 11 percent above the mallard's long-term average (LTA) for the Eastern Survey Area.


Green-winged teal, another important species in the Atlantic Flyway, rose some 8 percent this summer with a 2017 tally of 239,000 birds as compared to the 2016 mark of 222,000 ducks. This year's greenwing breeding figure is down six-percent from the specie's LTA number however.


Goldeneyes, which thrill hunters in the late season each year as winter weather drives the beautiful diving duck species south, checked in at 401,000 in 2017 as compared to 364,000 in 2016. This year's goldeneye figure is up 10 percent from last summer and 7 percent below the specie's LTA figure.

And mergansers, including the beautiful hooded merganser, are sitting at 513,000 this year in the Eastern Survey Area, a number that is up 15 percent over last year's 2016 figure of 447,000 and some 15 percent over the LTA.

But there's also plenty of troubling news back east too. That is noted from a glance at this year's Eastern Survey Area report which shows that the region's black duck breeding population has dipped from 606,000 birds in 2016 to 541,000 ducks in 2017. That's an 11 percent drop from last summer and a 12 percent reduction below the specie's LTA number.


Ring-necked ducks also declined this summer by 19 percent to 463,000 birds, a tally that is down from the 2016 mark of 572,000 ducks and 11 percent below the ringer's LTA number.

Why this mixed bag report for the Eastern Survey Area this year? Biologists are scratching their heads a little bit and don't appear to be entirely sure.

"Water conditions were great in the Eastern Survey Area,” said Delta Waterfowl president Dr. Frank Rohwer in a news release from the organization.


"Mallards responded, but surprisingly, black ducks and ring-necked duck numbers are down, which will affect hunters in the Atlantic Flyway.”

As with hunters in the other three flyways however, success this fall for hunters tossing decoys out along and near the Eastern Seaboard will depend on the usual local variations in food, habitat and weather.

Meaning that there will still be plenty of reason for duck hunters to get out this fall and be optimistic in the Atlantic Flyway, mixed survey report or not.

Recommended for You

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on. Bass

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

G&F Online Staff - May 20, 2019

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for walleyes in early summer. Walleye

How to Fish Bottom Bouncers for Walleye

Mark Sak - May 23, 2019

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for...

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere. Records

State Records Reported in Maryland, Michigan

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

As Pure Fishing's Andrew Upshaw explains, reel making giant Abu Garcia has done it again at ICAST 2019 with a new spinning reel geared towards finesse fishermen.

Costa

Costa's Award Winning Waterwoman Sunglasses

Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about all of the great features that made the new Waterwoman frame a big winner at the 2019 ICAST show as well as out on the water.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

See More Stories

More News

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications. News

Game & Fish Magazine Names New Editorial Director

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications.

Governor welcomes gunmaker (and 300 jobs) to the Peach State. Guns

Taurus Officially Opens New Facility in Georgia

G&F Online Staff - December 06, 2019

Governor welcomes gunmaker (and 300 jobs) to the Peach State.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service duck breeding population numbers are down again, but above long-term average. Waterfowl

USFWS 2019 Duck Population Status Report

Lynn Burkhead - August 19, 2019

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service duck breeding population numbers are down again, but above...

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.