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Get a duck’s eye view of wetland habitat going into opening weekend

Courtesy of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

With the latest round of wintry weather blowing through Arkansas, duck hunters are getting antsy for opening morning this Saturday. Let the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission stoke that fire a little more by subscribing to the Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Waterfowl Report.

The Weekly Waterfowl Report is available every Wednesday during duck season, and through the second youth hunt in February. In addition to articles about recent happenings in Arkansas’s waterfowling world, each report gives an update of habitat conditions on some of the most popular public duck-hunting destinations in The Natural State.

Jim Harris, managing editor of Arkansas Wildlife magazine and editor of the Arkansas Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report, also produces the waterfowl report each week.

“I reach out to the area managers on a lot of our WMA’s to get some information on the food available to the ducks and the water level each week,” Harris said. I also try to provide some anecdotal information about duck abundance when I can, but anyone who duck hunts knows it’s no guarantee,” Harris said.
“A lot can change in 24 hours, so when I get a report that there are a lot of ducks using a particular area, that may not be the case by the next weekend.”

Harris also includes a roundup of AGFC articles that may be of interest to waterfowlers to ensure all who subscribe are in the know about regulations changes and latest events concerning waterfowl habitat management on public land in Arkansas. Issues such as greentree reservoir renovations, moist-soil unit work and improvements to habitat management on AGFC-controlled land all have been extensively featured in the waterfowl report.

How does Harris rate the conditions going into Saturday’s opener? Still on the dry side, but improving.

“This week’s weather is helping, but a lot of areas are still going to be dry,” Harris said. “The cold did seem to push some more geese into the state. Before this weekend, goose hunters I talked to said they felt like they were hunting the same birds that had been here a while. After this cold and rain, they’ve started to finally report some new specklebellies and some of the first flocks of snow geese they’ve seen this year are beginning to arrive. As for the ducks, we’ll have to wait until this weekend to know for sure.”

Visit www.agfc.com/newsletters to view and register for the weekly waterfowl report as well as the weekly fishing report.

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