Persistent cold leads to promising hunting conditions
LITTLE ROCK – Duck hunters know that cold weather usually bodes well for Arkansas hunting, and the recent period of protracted frigid conditions likely has forced ducks to leave more northern latitudes in search of open water and food sources.
Field reports from around the state point to improved hunting success since the passage of an Arctic cold front late last week. The Weather Severity Index (WSI), a formula to predict dabbling duck migration published by Long Point Waterfowl, shows that this year’s migration is the earliest since the WSI’s inception in 2009. According to the WSI forecast for Dec. 9-15, more than 95 percent of wetlands are ice-covered in mid-latitude states such as Missouri and Illinois. Snow cover in mid-latitude and northern states also continues to increase, decreasing availability of waste grain in agricultural fields.
Arkansas temperatures are forecast to remain below normal for the next several days before returning closer to normal next week.
Weather permitting, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists will be conducting this season’s second periodic aerial waterfowl survey next week, which will allow waterfowl managers to quantify duck abundance in the state in the wake of the recent weather.