LITTLE ROCK –-(Ammoland.com)- One of the coldest mid-November weeks on record is stirring excitement among the state’s duck hunters as opening day looms. That excitement, however, is tempered somewhat by a shortage of hunting water in many areas.
Duck season opens 30 minutes before sunrise Saturday, and Arkansas is coming off an extended bout of unseasonably cold weather, which typically bodes well for duck hunting as habitats to the state’s north become snow-covered and frozen.
The National Weather Service was projecting Little Rock’s average daily temperature to be 34.9 degrees for the period spanning Nov. 12-18, which would mark the lowest average temperature on record for that span.
But even as temperatures have dropped, rainfall has been scarce in many areas, leaving many naturally flooded waterfowl habitats dry.
“Our observers flew the season’s first aerial waterfowl survey earlier this week, and they reported that most of the Delta was dry,” said Luke Naylor, the Arkansas Gameand Fish Commission’s waterfowl program coordinator.
“The northern Delta was extremely dry, although areas south of Pine Bluff seem to have benefitted more from rainfall earlier in the week. But with that exception, most of the water they saw was in reservoirs and artificially flooded habitat.”
Waterfowl survey results should be available in time for next week’s weekly waterfowl report and will be posted on the AGFC website at www.agfc.com, but preliminary observations seem to indicate a higher-than-average percentage of mallards in the population estimate.
Observers reported large concentrations of ducks at Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Ashbaugh in northeastern Arkansas.