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Arkansas 2018-19 Final Split Season of Duck Hunting Opens Dec 26
Submitted by: Backcountry Press Outdoor News
Posted on: 12/21/18
Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are that of the authors and not necessarily that of TBC Press
The AGFC's system of WMAs and greentree reservoirs continued to add water coverage throughout, with only a handful of WMAs and GTRs being below 100 percent in coverage this week, according to biologist surveys of the areas.
As for the aerial survey elsewhere in the state, the Arkansas River Valley and southwest Arkansas numbers were low -- 22,514 total ducks and 15,038 mallards in the river valley, and 35,236 ducks and 9,241 mallards in southwest Arkansas. Observers in the Delta again estimated high numbers of arctic-nesting geese, including more than a million light (lesser snow and Ross's) geese and nearly 420,000 greater white-front geese.
The next staff aerial survey is scheduled for the week of Jan. 7.
Stock Image courtesy of AGFC
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Luke Naylor, the AGFC waterfowl program coordinator, said, "Habitat conditions changed a lot immediately before and after the survey period as a result of two significant rainfall events impacting much of the state. Duck numbers generally appear to have increased across the Delta in response to increased surface water availability. However, duck counts were only about average and birds were not evenly distributed across the landscape."
Naylor added that counts also might have been affected slightly by a thin layer of ice each morning in the north Delta during the survey, Dec. 9-12. That would lead to more ducks being concentrated on more limited open water, he said. Some of these hot spots were also areas closed to waterfowl hunting, places ducks were already frequenting to avoid hunting pressure.
The Arkansas regular duck season in Arkansas will have a brief break Dec. 24-25 before resuming for the third and final split season Dec. 26 through Jan. 27.
More than 1.2 million ducks were estimated to be residing in the Arkansas Delta region, based on counts in last week's annual December aerial waterfowl survey report.
More than half of that total were mallards, Arkansas Game and Fish biologists reported. The total duck and mallard counts in the Delta were slightly below the 2009-2018 long-term December average.