Skip to main content Skip to main content

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

Popular Videos

Tow Ready in 2: Trailer Hitch Height - The Importance of Level Towing

Tow Ready in 2: Trailer Hitch Height - The Importance of Level Towing

To tow a trailer safely, you must do so with a level trailer and tow vehicle. Incorrect trailering heights and angles can negatively affect how your rig pulls. In this episode of “B&W Hitches Tow Ready in 2,” Dr. Todd Kuhn addresses the importance of level towing and how-to achieve it with hitch height.

Outdoor Family Fun: Follow Your Dreams

Outdoor Family Fun: Follow Your Dreams

Inspired by passion and Stanley, Thomas Allen talks about his dream to make a career working in the fishing industry. Dreams don't come true without being surrounded by people who not only see and understand your passion but consider your dream as their own and see the same endgame. The most important people in your life make your dreams a reality.

Crash Course: How to Choose the Right Crankbait for Bass

Crash Course: How to Choose the Right Crankbait for Bass

You have lots of options in a shallow crankbait, but don't overlook the No. 1 important thing.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now