What to expect for the upcoming waterfowl season in ND

Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 5:56 PM CDT
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NORTH DAKOTA (KFYR) - Abundant snowfall last winter and widespread rain in May and June provided good wetland conditions for breeding ducks in North Dakota.

“So our brood index this year was up 79% from what we observed last year. Our brood size was down slightly, which is indicative of broods needing to move a little bit more over the land between wetlands that were drying up, finding new wetlands to use,” said Mike Szymanski, NDGF waterfowl biologist.

Good wetland conditions during the breeding period and good breeding population estimates this spring lead to a good fall flight index.

“Our fall flight index from North Dakota is up about 23% from last year and is comparable to some pretty good years like 1994 and 2020,” said Szymanski.

And what can waterfowl hunters expect from prairie Canada this fall?

“Conditions have been pretty dry throughout most of prairie Canada, so we’re not expecting a very strong fall flight from those regions,” said Szymanski,

It should be another good year for goose hunters hitting the field this fall.

“We have a lot of geese in the state and prospects for hunting those birds this year should be pretty good. Getting into Arctic nesting geese, snow geese, small Canada’s white fronts, indications from folks around the Arctic are that we should have good to maybe even above average production for those birds,” said Szymanski.

No matter what type of hunting you’re doing, safety always comes first.

“Being aware of your muzzle, your muzzle blast, the direction you’re shooting. And, of course, when it comes to duck hunting, there are folks that go out in watercraft and making sure that they have the appropriate personal safety devices for flotation,” said Szymanski.

Szymanski also reminds waterfowl hunters to follow aquatic nuisance species regulations when leaving waterbodies. Overall, waterfowl hunting should be good this fall.

“We have a good number of ducks around the state, and we have really good production in the state. So we think the outlook for duck hunting in North Dakota should be pretty good and for those regions that receive ducks from North Dakota,” said Szymanski.

For more information on the waterfowl season in North Dakota, visit the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov.