ARKANSAS, USA — When it comes down to an all-encompassing duck season outlook, a lot of things point to a year depending on the weather, ultimately.
Luke Naylor, a biologist from Arkansas Game and Fish, explained that a drought situation in Canada is a big concern.
Mallard ducks that migrate down the Mississippi Flyway start in the Saskatchewan province of Canada. This area is also known as the Pothole Prairie region, and it's typically the birthplace of ducks that end up in Arkansas.
A drought situation like the one up north leads to waterfowl having fewer ducklings.
The ratio of older versus younger ducks migrating is part of what makes the sport more competitive than ever. Adult ducks are considered wiser and less likely to fall for all the gimmicks that Arkansas hunters keep in their back pocket.
While fewer juvenile ducks are planning the trip down south this year, what will truly determine the season's success comes down to that good ole' 7-Day Forecast. It's the short-term weather patterns hunters will focus on in the 60-day season.
Ideally forecasting, states north will get covered with snow, driving the ducks to Arkansas.
In last year's scenario, Naylor explained all bad situations came together at once. Mild conditions stretched into the Midwest for most of the winter; therefore, ducks didn't have to migrate as far south.
Not to mention, all the rain was providing plenty of refuge for ducks. More options for arrival meant more challenges to be in the right place at the right time.
On December 9, a duck social is taking place where more conversations will unfold about the future of waterfowl harvesting. It's a unique opportunity for duck hunters of all ages and backgrounds to come together and get insight from an array of panelists.
To buy tickets for the duck social, click here.
Most successes this year will depend on the weekly weather forecast.
Special thank you to Chad Hamlin for inviting me out to camp and seeing the evolution of a duck blind first-hand. Also, thank you to Arkansas Game and Fish for the stock of resources and footage provided.