The Long-Term Plan: Reaching Ideal Numbers **
Year-to-year duck population changes might prompt some hunters to lay in a store of nontoxic shot, but most scientists look more closely at long-term numbers and population targets. Established in 1986 by the United States and Canada and joined in 1996 by Mexico, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan set population goals for most species of waterfowl. In 2003, the breeding population of gadwall, greenwing and bluewing teal, and northern shovelers surpassed those targets, whereas mallards, redheads, and canvasbacks missed them by only a tiny percentage. The rest of the ducks, from scaup to widgeon to pintails, are well below the marks. **Goose Report: Growing Numbers
Ducks didn't corner the market on good news in the 2003 waterfowl surveys. Canada, snow, and whitefront goose numbers also rose across the continent, thanks to early spring thaws that gave the birds a jump on the breeding season.