The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

September 19, 2013

Drought could cause decline in duck population during hunting season

OTTUMWA — Hunters looking to nab some game in the early part of the duck hunting season might find some trouble in their regular spots thanks in large part to the drought that has been hanging over Iowa in the latter parts of the summer, according to wildlife biologist Jeff Glaw.

Glaw works for the Department of Natural Resources in the Sugema Wildlife Unit of Iowa, which covers Mahaska, Keokuk, Washington, Wapello, Jefferson, Davis and Van Buren counties.

The Iowa DNR posted a wetland habitat conditions report on their website this week that explains the current status of wetlands throughout the state. In the Sugema unit, as well as most of the other units around Iowa, all of the wetlands are either low or dried up.

“Most of the state wetlands are pretty much dry,” Glaw said. “Typically they are filled by rain water.”

Because a lot of the wetlands in the area are dry, some of the regular hunting spots for locals will not have the same duck population as they generally do at this time of year. According to Glaw, the ducks will probably congregate in areas like lakes and ponds instead of the rivers and creeks where they are usually found in abundance.

The only way to be sure there is adequate water in usual hunting spots is to go out and do some research before hunting.

“Make sure you don’t show up where you usually hunt and find it is dry,” Glaw said. “Scouting definitely makes a difference. Get out and look for where there is water and where the ducks will congregate.”

Winds coming out of the northwest in the next few days will hopefully help to bring the migratory duck population into the area, but Glaw believes the early part of the season will not be as prosperous for hunters as in previous years.

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