What happened to all the ducks?

I assume the readership of the River Hills Traveler includes a fair number of duck hunters. 

If you are a duck hunter like me hunting in the Midwest, you have probably had one of the worst, if not the absolute worst, duck hunting season you have ever experienced.   

Obviously, when it is 70 degrees on the day before Christmas here in Missouri and Illinois, and when it has been almost this warm for the entire duck season, it is no mystery why the ducks ignored their Notice to Appear.   

With no significant snow and ice, and plenty of grain crop residue in the fields up north, why would any halfway intelligent duck want to go any further south and get shot at?   

Truth is, ducks are more intelligent than we give them credit for, and that is one of the reasons why this has been a terrible duck season for many of us who duck hunt in the Mississippi flyway.   

But there is more to it than just this particular hunting season. What we may be witnessing is a significant migration change that could eventually impact duck hunting in Illinois and Missouri on a permanent basis.

Tom Moorman, PhD., is a wildlife specialist who for a long time has served as the chief scientist for Ducks Unlimited.   

He recently provided his observations as to this duck season and what it may mean over the long haul for future duck seasons in the Mississippi flyway.   

In arriving at his conclusions, he first noted the many variables that are influencing duck migration patterns.

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