Wet conditions may lead to prime duck hunting conditions in North Dakota


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Record-setting wet conditions that hampered hunters in North Dakota last fall might have set the stage for prime duck hunting this fall, wildlife officials say.

An annual spring survey by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department estimates 3.98 million breeding ducks in the state, the Bismarck Tribune reported

“When you start getting around the 4 million range, you are talking about very, very good duck numbers,” said Mike Szymanski, the department’s migratory game bird supervisor.

The survey gives hunters their first glimpse of how duck numbers might shape up for the fall hunt. The 4 million bird mark hasn’t been reached for six years.

Breeding duck numbers are generally related to wetland conditions. Widespread drought in 2016 led to spring breeding duck numbers dropping below 3 million in 2017 and 2018 for only the second and third times in nearly a quarter century.

Numbers rebounded above 3 million in spring 2019.