Delta Waterfowl Report Explores Looming Crisis: Declining Numbers of Duck Hunters

With liberal limits and plentiful birds, early season hunts can be memorable. Once hunting pressure takes hold, top waterfowlers stay ahead of the game by employing numerous decoy tricks.
With liberal limits and plentiful birds, early season hunts can be memorable.
Delta Waterfowl
Delta Waterfowl

BISMARCK, N.D.-( We need more waterfowl hunters, and so do the ducks. A Special Report in the Spring Issue of Delta Waterfowl magazine explores why we’ve lost hundreds of thousands of waterfowl hunters since 1970, the threat this poses for the future of hunting and conservation, and what we can do about it.

The 10-page report is posted in its entirety at

Among the findings: There were 2.03 million active U.S. waterfowlers in 1970, and only 998,600 in 2015. The steepest declines have occurred since 1997, despite high duck populations, lengthy hunting seasons and liberal bag limits. Canada’s waterfowler numbers have fallen even more drastically, peaking in 1978 at 505,681 and declining to fewer than 170,000 today.

This trend should alarm anyone who cares about waterfowl hunting and wetland conservation.

“We tell folks to support conservation — to replace the ducks they shoot every year,” said John Devney, vice president of U.S. policy for Delta Waterfowl. “We should also be telling them that you must replace yourself as a duck hunter. It’s as important as buying a federal duck stamp.”

Looming Crisis: Declining Numbers of Duck Hunters

About Delta Waterfowl Foundation:

Delta Waterfowl Foundation is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group dedicated to ducks and duck hunters in North America.

For more information, visit

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Larry Moore

Steel shot played a big roll in declining numbers. Much more expensive, not good to use in vintage shotguns, and most knew the study was flawed to begin with. Just another government over reach and nobody is saying a word about it to the right people to overturn the lead shot ban.