January 07, 2013
In Spots, Still Some Very Good Hunting
By M.D. Johnson
North of Missouri, duck seasons are but a memory – and, for many, not a real good memory. So bad, in fact, a buddy from here in Iowa recently posted a thread on a ‘fowling forum titled “Good Riddance to 2012.”
Cruising the Internet reveals gunners for the most part are having a tough time of it in places like Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi (but there are some happy exceptions). A lack of water seems to be a common denominator throughout much of Arkansas and Mississippi, though the lack of new ducks, aka The Stale Bird Syndrome, appears a frequent complaint, too. Conversely, though, I get the impression that some closed-mouthed hunters in some spots are getting some birds.
From Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee, I’m hearing mixed reviews. Some blinds on the big shallow lake are producing here and there for guys willing to spend the time in them. The blizzards that swept through the Upper Midwest the week of 17 December understandably sent birds packing from north to south. Some stopped at Tony Vandemore’s Habitat Flats in central Missouri, and provided excellent hunting up through the close on Christmas Day. Others, and apparently a good number, continued on down the Mississippi, and took up residency on Reelfoot. But things have slowed, and the question is this: Are there still ducks north to go south? Either way, Tennessee’s Reelfoot Zone stays open until 27 January, and that’s plenty of time for good things to happen. Likewise, both Mississippi and Arkansas finish up on the 27th, with parts of Louisiana closing on either the 20th or 27th, depending upon the zone.
I got a note on Sunday, January 6, from Avery's John Gordon, who’s hunting just outside of Tunica, Mississippi, and has some positive news:
"I've been here since Thursday, M.D, and we're doing well. Pretty steady shooting, I would have to say. Lots of mallards and gadwalls, with some green-wings and shovelers. As for the weather, mid-week last saw temperatures in the upper 20s, with mostly sunny skies. Pressure? There's a lot of hunting happening around the area. In terms of geese, there's some snows and specks, but no huge numbers. I think a lot of the geese have moved on farther south. The ducks we're playing with have been in the area a while, so we're not calling at 'em hard. And they seem a little MOJO shy as well. We're in need of a push from up north to end the season here."
Unlike the situation in the Midwest, Gordon says water isn't a problem where he's spending his field time. "Water is fairly abundant around here," he said, "but the rivers and lakes are low. Low-lying fields are holding water, though, and where there's water, guys are finding some birds."
Some hunters farther up the flyway are still enjoying good goose hunting. “Been beating them up!” wrote Matt Pence, an Avery Team Member from Sigorney, Iowa on Thursday. “When can ya make it?”