Weekly Waterfowl Report: November 28, 2023

Published 6:01 am Wednesday, November 29, 2023

By Houston Havens, Darrin Hardesty

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks

JACKSON — Mississippi’s 2023-24 duck season is underway. The first segment of the season occurred over this past weekend, but many areas across the state are without water and several natural sloughs and breaks that waterfowl rely on this time of year are also dry.

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It is not uncommon that the first segment of the season is dry; however, a large portion of the Delta will remain dry until a substantial rain event happens. Waterfowl are relying heavily on managed public lands as well as private lands that have water pumping capabilities for flooding managed food sources.

Limited wetland habitat will likely have a negative impact on the overall harvest that occurs during the early season until more rain inundates more habitat. A cold start to this week is predicted to change into warm and potentially rainy weather by the weekend.

However, recent winter weather across the Midwest and Great Lakes regions may cause waterfowl to migrate further south out of those areas and into southern states. Mississippi’s waterfowl harvest reports for public lands was similar to the past few years for the November segment.

Some state-owned Wildlife Management Areas reported very good success for the “Duck Opener”. These areas should expect to hold birds until new wetland habitats become available. The majority of the species harvested consisted of gadwall, wood ducks, northern shovelers, and green-winged teal.

Very few geese are being reported in the state at this time but more greater white-fronted geese are showing up daily. Hunters are reminded that Mississippi’s waterfowl seasons are currently closed, but the light goose conservation order is open. The second segment of Mississippi’s regular duck and goose hunting season will be Friday, December 1 through Sunday, December 3.

The November aerial waterfowl survey has been recently completed and the survey results are currently available on MDWFP’s website and social media platforms.

For more information regarding waterfowl in Mississippi, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com/waterfowl or call us at (601) 432-2199. The Waterfowl Program web page lists links to hunting regulations, duck migration forecasts, and habitat information for specific WMAs and other public lands throughout the state.

Some of the closer WMAs for waterfowl include Howard Miller, Muscadine Farms, Sunflower, Malmasion, Mahannah, Phil Bryant, Lake George and William Deviney.

Howard Miller reported 55 visits with a harvest of 208 ducks for an average of 3.78 birds. Muscadine Farms near Hollandale reported 53 visits and 213 birds taken for an average of 4.02 birds harvested.

Sunflower reported 158 visits and 205 birds harvested for an average of 1.3 ducks taken per visit. Malmasion reported 68 visits and 57 birds taken for an average of 0.84.

Mahannah reported 301 birds harvested over 102 visits for an average of 2.95. Phil Bryant reported two visits and one bird harvested. Lake George reported 20 visits and 35 birds taken for an average of 1.75.

William Deviney reported 50 visits and 285 birds taken for an average harvest of 5.7.