Wet Spring Means Productive Fall Waterfowl Hunting

Wet Spring Means Productive Fall Waterfowl Hunting
The wet spring provided abundant waterfowl food across Kentucky for the opening of duck and goose seasons on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28.

From Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The wet spring earlier this year left abundant food for waterfowl to eat this fall. This should make for productive hunting when the both duck and goose hunting seasons open Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28.

“The waterfowl foods that grow in moist soils did excellent in late summer and came on strong,” said Rocky Pritchert, migratory bird coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

“We have really lush growth. It looks like it is going to be a productive waterfowl season across the state.”


Pritchert said waterfowl habitat conditions are good overall across Kentucky, but some areas are better than others. “Because of the wet spring, we were not able to get some of our food crops sown on some of the wildlife management areas (WMAs) until late this year,” he explained.


Waterfowl hunters need to remember that Cedar Creek Lake and Dix River WMAs in Lincoln County along with J.C. Williams WMA in Nelson County now have earlier closures for the upcoming waterfowl seasons. Hunters must cease hunting and be off these areas by 2 p.m. and may not enter them until 4 a.m.

Current U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service population studies show about 45.6 million ducks in their annual survey area. Mallards are the most numerous ducks at 10.3 million birds.

Migration reports show many mallard ducks just to the north of Kentucky. “We had a good hatch this year and anticipation is high,” he said. “The northern breeding duck numbers look really good, a big improvement over last year when drought limited duck reproduction somewhat.”

Kentucky deer hunters, including Pritchert, report seeing many wood ducks this year while hunting. “Their plumage is looking good this year,” Pritchert said. “The wood ducks are really colorful. They are common in central and west Kentucky.”


Eastern Kentucky is home to many black ducks which find Kentucky’s habitat and climate hospitable. “We are the second largest harvest state in the Mississippi Flyway for black ducks,” Pritchert said. “They are more common in eastern Kentucky than other parts of the state.”

Resident Canada goose numbers in Kentucky remain stable after good reproduction this past spring. Hunters can find them from the Mississippi River in the west to Pike County’s Breaks Canyon in the east.

Smaller waters such as farm ponds, rivers and large creeks offer excellent Canada goose hunting opportunities.


“You’ve got to go and hunt,” Pritchert said. “You can’t hunt waterfowl from behind a desk.”

Duck season closes Jan. 26 while goose seasons including Canada goose, white-fronted goose, brant and snow goose close Jan. 31. Hunters must have a valid Kentucky hunting license, Kentucky waterfowl permit and Federal waterfowl permit, commonly called a duck stamp, to hunt waterfowl.

For more information on waterfowl hunting, pick up a copy of the 2013-2014 Kentucky Hunting Guide for Waterfowl available wherever hunting licenses are sold. You may also download a printable version from the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov.

Author Lee McClellan is an award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

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.

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

In the booth of one of fishing's all-time great reel makers, Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead and Andrew Wheeler of Pure Fishing discuss one of the brand new baitcasting reels from Abu Garcia being released at ICAST 2019.

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.

Trending Articles

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures? Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them. Reels

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them.

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a species Catfish

10 Biggest Catfish World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - December 08, 2014

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a...

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

It was a difficult question for a young hunter to ask, and the answer didn't come any easier. Stories

Deer Camp Lesson Learned the Hard Way

Jeff Johnston - February 04, 2020

It was a difficult question for a young hunter to ask, and the answer didn't come any easier.

From a world-record crappie to the best gear of the year, these hunting and fishing articles were most popular with our readers. Stories

Game & Fish's Top 10 Stories of 2018

G&F Online Staff - December 24, 2018

From a world-record crappie to the best gear of the year, these hunting and fishing articles...

A father and daughter with their dogs on a dry ground mountain lion hunt get more than they bargain Stories

Arizona Mountain Lion Hunt Turns Into Dangerous Jaguar Encounter

Aaron Decker - November 30, 2011

A father and daughter with their dogs on a dry ground mountain lion hunt get more than they...

 Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin 30.30 Stories

Grandpa's Gun Tags Giant Buck, Ends Multi-Year Quest

Lynn Burkhead - November 21, 2017

Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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