Arctic air portends big push of waterfowl
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas’s duck season has been closed since Sunday for the first split of the 2013-2014 season, and a big dose of extremely cold air, as well as winter weather, is expected to greet hunters as the season resumes.
The second segment of the season opens Thursday, just as an Arctic cold front is expected to make its way into the northwestern part of the state. By the weekend, weather forecasters predict much of Arkansas will be gripped by sub-freezing temperatures and a mix of icy precipitation. Winter storm warnings or watches have been issued for the northern two-thirds of the state, although forecasters haven’t ruled out the possibility of icy weather in southern sections, as well.
Plummeting temperatures and snowfall in more northern areas could lead to a large migration movement of mallards and other dabbling ducks from areas such as Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.
Following the passage of the front, high temperatures at Little Rock are expected to be at or just above the freezing mark for the next week, with nighttime lows dipping into the teens and 20s.
Some public-land hunting areas, including the popular Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area, have benefited from recent rainfall, but some areas still are in need of more rainfall to reach target water levels. Liquid precipitation and melting frozen precipitation may help to improve habitat conditions following the winter storm system’s passage.