Duck numbers fell in January, LDWF survey shows

Seventy-two percent of the state’s coastal ducks were located in the southwestern region, Southeast Louisiana hunting hampered by Hurricane Isaac damage.

From News Reports
February 07, 2013 at 5:00 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Duck numbers fell in January, LDWF survey shows
Courtesy jsethl13 on Louisianasportsman.com
Most duck hunters in South Louisiana would not be surprised to hear that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries duck estimate for January was below the long-term average and last January’s duck count.

The 2.62 million birds estimated to be in the state this January topped the December count in all areas except for Catahoula Lake, but results were 6 percent lower than the January 2012 estimate of 2.79 million waterfowl, the LDWF reported.

The 2.62 million birds estimated to be in the state this January topped the December count in all areas except for Catahoula Lake, but results were 6 percent lower than the January 2012 estimate of 2.79 million waterfowl, the LDWF reported.

Southwest Louisiana was the highlight for duck hunters, holding more than twice the number of ducks that the southeastern marshes held in January, the monthly survey showed.

“Estimates for both southwest and southeast coastal regions increased from December to January, but gains in Southwest Louisiana were much greater, such that 72 percent of the ducks estimated in coastal Louisiana were found in southwest marshes compared to 65 percent in December,” The LDWF report stated. “That is in stark contrast to last January, when 30 percent more ducks were counted in Southeast Louisiana marshes than in (the) southwest.”

The count in Southeast Louisiana this January was less than half of January 2012 estimate, which managers said was probably due to the impact of Hurricane Isaac on habitat. The ducks that were in the region were widely scattered, with the only real concentration found at the north end of Biloxi Wildlife Management Area.

Catahoula Lake and its surrounding area held only 41,000 ducks compared to the 95,000 counted there last January. A decline in December numbers, according to the LDWF, was due to rainfall in early January that created optimal wintering habitat for migrant ducks, in flooded agricultural fields.

The breakdown of the aerial survey results is:

• Mallards — 181,000 (176,000 in the southwest; 4,000 in the southeast; 1,000 in Catahoula Lake)
• Mottled ducks — 51,000 (28,000 in the southwest; 23,000 in the Southeast)
• Gadwall — 743,000 (468,000 in the southwest; 274,000 in the southeast; 1,000 in Catahoula Lake)
• Wigeon — 11,000 (7,000 in the southwest; 4,000 in the southeast)
• Green-winged teal — 495,000 (389,000 in the southwest; 193,000 in the southeast)
• Blue-winged teal — 56,000 (35,000 in the southwest; 21,000 in the southeast)
• Shoveler — 401,000 (384,000 in the southwest; 17,000 in the southeast)
• Pintail — 91,000 (81,000 in the southwest; 10,000 in the southeast)
• Scaup — 225,000 (140,000 in the southwest; 4,000 in the southeast)
• Ringnecked — 193,000 (149,000 in the southwest; 41,000 in the southeast; 3,000 in Catahoula Lake)
• Canvasback — 87,000 (5,000 in the southwest; 172,000 in the southeast; 39,000 in Catahoula Lake)






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