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  1. #1
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    Dec 1969
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    Waterfowl season looks promising

    From KY Fish and Wildlife

    Breeding conditions in the northern Great Plains states and the Prairie Pothole region of Canada were dismal last spring. That would normally spell poor hunting for the upcoming waterfowl seasons that open Nov. 23 for Canada goose and Nov. 27 for ducks, but this could be an exceptional hunting year.

    “We have a lot of ducks in west Kentucky right now,” said John Brunjes, migratory bird biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “The Mississippi River flooding this past summer in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois may have caused less food availability up north and pushed them here. We should have a good waterfowl season this year.”

    Ballard Wildlife Management Area in Ballard County has been a waterfowl hunting mecca for decades and is a good bellwether for the prospects of the upcoming season.

    “We have between 50,000-60,000 ducks on the area right now,” said Charlie Wilkins, area manager for Ballard Wildlife Management Area (WMA). “We have a few hundred white-fronted geese as well. With the winds out of the north, we should pick up some more ducks over the next several days.”

    Cold spring weather greatly affected the waterfowl breeding areas in Canada and the northern Great Plains. “They had snow on the ground up north until June,” Brunjes said. “There is little to no waterfowl breeding with snow on the ground. The birds are still there, but reproduction was impacted.”

    Those birds are also showing up all over Kentucky. “I am seeing them on the ponds I hunt when I’ve been scouting,” said Hank Patton, deputy commissioner of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “They haven’t been here, they just got here. We are seeing some migration. Some of the ponds have more than 20 birds using them. In the past at this time of year, there would be one or two.”

    Farm ponds may be the best bet for an early season waterfowl hunters who don’t live in or don’t want to travel to west Kentucky. “It is good hunting on farm ponds,” Patton said. “Waterfowl hunting is the best it’s been in my experience in central and east Kentucky.”

    Scout for ponds that hold numbers of birds. Patton will not hunt a pond unless it is holding at least two dozen waterfowl.

    He also recommends not shooting at the pond too often. “I shoot it and let rest for at least a week,” Patton explained. “I won’t shoot it more than once a week. If you have ducks on it and over-shoot it, they’ll abandon it. If I don’t see it getting better after letting it rest, I won’t hunt it anymore.”

    The Ohio River is also a good waterfowl hunting destination from November to the end of January. “Anywhere along the Ohio River is good,” Patton said. “I hunt the Ohio River extensively. It always holds birds.”

    The Kentucky River also provides quality waterfowl hunting, especially in the dead of winter when farm ponds and smaller lakes are frozen.

    “Once those smaller waters lock up with ice, the birds have to go somewhere,” Patton said.

    Cave Run Lake is also a good choice, but is closed to goose hunting. “Cave Run had amazing numbers of birds last year,” Brunjes said. “We would have 3,000 to 4,000 ducks on the lake at times.”

    Brunjes also recommends Taylorsville, Green River, Cumberland, Laurel River and Herrington lakes for waterfowl hunting. “Get some steel number 2 shotshells for ducks and some BB or BBB steel shotshells for geese and get out there after them,” Brunjes said. “This is a great time of year to hunt waterfowl.”



    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Thumbs up Re: Waterfowl season looks promising

    Quote Originally Posted by peter View Post
    From KY Fish and Wildlife

    Breeding conditions in the northern Great Plains states and the Prairie Pothole region of Canada were dismal last spring. That would normally spell poor hunting for the upcoming waterfowl seasons that open Nov. 23 for Canada goose and Nov. 27 for ducks, but this could be an exceptional hunting year.

    “We have a lot of ducks in west Kentucky right now,” said John Brunjes, migratory bird biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “The Mississippi River flooding this past summer in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois may have caused less food availability up north and pushed them here. We should have a good waterfowl season this year.”

    Ballard Wildlife Management Area in Ballard County has been a waterfowl hunting mecca for decades and is a good bellwether for the prospects of the upcoming season.

    “We have between 50,000-60,000 ducks on the area right now,” said Charlie Wilkins, area manager for Ballard Wildlife Management Area (WMA). “We have a few hundred white-fronted geese as well. With the winds out of the north, we should pick up some more ducks over the next several days.”

    Cold spring weather greatly affected the waterfowl breeding areas in Canada and the northern Great Plains. “They had snow on the ground up north until June,” Brunjes said. “There is little to no waterfowl breeding with snow on the ground. The birds are still there, but reproduction was impacted.”

    Those birds are also showing up all over Kentucky. “I am seeing them on the ponds I hunt when I’ve been scouting,” said Hank Patton, deputy commissioner of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “They haven’t been here, they just got here. We are seeing some migration. Some of the ponds have more than 20 birds using them. In the past at this time of year, there would be one or two.”

    Farm ponds may be the best bet for an early season waterfowl hunters who don’t live in or don’t want to travel to west Kentucky. “It is good hunting on farm ponds,” Patton said. “Waterfowl hunting is the best it’s been in my experience in central and east Kentucky.”

    Scout for ponds that hold numbers of birds. Patton will not hunt a pond unless it is holding at least two dozen waterfowl.

    He also recommends not shooting at the pond too often. “I shoot it and let rest for at least a week,” Patton explained. “I won’t shoot it more than once a week. If you have ducks on it and over-shoot it, they’ll abandon it. If I don’t see it getting better after letting it rest, I won’t hunt it anymore.”

    The Ohio River is also a good waterfowl hunting destination from November to the end of January. “Anywhere along the Ohio River is good,” Patton said. “I hunt the Ohio River extensively. It always holds birds.”

    The Kentucky River also provides quality waterfowl hunting, especially in the dead of winter when farm ponds and smaller lakes are frozen.

    “Once those smaller waters lock up with ice, the birds have to go somewhere,” Patton said.

    Cave Run Lake is also a good choice, but is closed to goose hunting. “Cave Run had amazing numbers of birds last year,” Brunjes said. “We would have 3,000 to 4,000 ducks on the lake at times.”

    Brunjes also recommends Taylorsville, Green River, Cumberland, Laurel River and Herrington lakes for waterfowl hunting. “Get some steel number 2 shotshells for ducks and some BB or BBB steel shotshells for geese and get out there after them,” Brunjes said. “This is a great time of year to hunt waterfowl.”



    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.

    That's great we have a hunt at Ballard Dec 3-4th eH

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