If Arkansas duck hunters enjoy a challenge, they’ve certainly had their fair share during the state’s 2010-11 waterfowl season.

With dry conditions, a fluctuating temperature and a diminished population in the northern U.S., this season will likely end feeling much more like springtime than the middle of winter, with highs reaching into the lower 60s.

The ducks are still out there though, according to the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, and the sub-freezing temperatures last week certainly didn’t hurt the situation:

Biologists said it appeared that most ducks were scattered last week in the Delta. Thursday’s freeze-up had ducks concentrated on Friday flight. Habitat conditions and water levels in the fields looked about average as a whole. Most rivers (e.g., Bayou DeView, Cache, White, Black, St. Francis) looked well below average depths. The Cache and Bayou DeView were especially low. The low water conditions forced ducks to keep open holes in fields on Friday or continue south looking for open water.

All shallow water habitats were frozen last week. Good numbers of ducks were spotted on large bodies of water throughout the Arkansas River Valley. Habitat conditions are still poor due to lack of rainfall. Hunters with water might expect good success this last week of the season, but the warm weather may prove a challenge.

Arkansas’ duck season will conclude this Sunday, January 30.