Breeding duck population remains high in Mississippi

Duck Breeding remains high in Mississippi.
Duck Breeding remains high in Mississippi. Ttisbell@sunherald.com

Mississippi waterfowl hunters should see a solid number of ducks this season.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service recently released results of waterfowl breeding population and habitat surveys conducted on the duck breeding grounds in the northern United States and Canadian provinces. They discovered a 2 percent decrease from their previous survey.

Despite the decrease, duck breeding is still above the long-term average.

Population estimates for five of the 10 surveyed duck species increased.

▪ Mallard numbers increased by 1 percent from last year to a total of 11.7 million birds, the highest estimate on record.

▪ Scaup and American wigeon populations showed the greatest increases at 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

▪ Redheads and American green-winged teal populations also increased.

▪ Blue-winged teal, northern shoveler, northern pintail, gadwall and canvasback populations decreased.

Fall, winter and wetland habitat conditions on wintering grounds are keys in duck migrations that could affect the hunting season.

The duck season in Mississippi has three parts: Nov. 25-27, Dec. 2-4 and Dec. 7-Jan. 29.

The daily bag limit is a total of six, including no more than four mallards (no more than two can be females), three wood ducks, two redheads, three scaup, two pintail, one canvasback one mottled duck and one black duck. The merganser daily bag limit is five, but only two can be hooded mergansers. The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit for ducks and mergansers.

“Even with breeding duck populations again near record numbers, Mississippi hunters are reminded that many factors will determine whether or not large numbers of these birds show up in Mississippi wetlands,” Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks waterfowl program coordinator Houston Havens said in a press release.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones