The cold blast that impacted nearly the entire country just before the start of Arkansas’ duck season pushed more than normal number of mallards our way but results have been mixed due to warmer weather and a lack of water in most of our public hunting grounds. Hunters with artificially flooded fields or timber experienced good success the first weekend across the entire state but with temps in the 60s and heavy rain on Sunday, results were not as good as many hoped with the estimated 990,000 ducks in Arkansas.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s first aerial waterfowl survey conducted November 17-20 estimated over 550,000 mallards were in the state which is nearly double the average long-term estimate. Odds are with the warmer day time temperatures this week a fair number of these ducks have moved slightly north. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Mallard Migration map supports this theory as they note a large influx of mallards in the southeast portion of the state.
Public hunting ground water is pretty sporadic with little pockets here and there with some completely unhuntable.
Thanksgiving weekend brings a lot of hunters to the state in conjunction with the Wings Over the Prairie Festival in Stuttgart. Hopefully enough hunters will venture out this holiday weekend to move the ducks around as we wait on a little more water and some colder weather.