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Reelfoot Lake Duck Hunting
Tennessee Duck Hunting Report
DUCK HUNTERS ABOUT TO HIT HOME STRETCH
By Steve McCadams
Duck hunters across the Volunteer State are about to hit the home
stretch as the 60-day season draws to a close. The statewide season,
which began back on November 22 ends on Sunday, January 25.
Although some recent cold fronts brought bone chilling winds to the
region the overall waterfowl picture has been a bit blurry for most duck
hunters in the area. Last week’s bitter temperatures did improve the
hunting for a few select areas but others succumbed to ice as many
shallow fields and backwaters in bottoms froze up.
A lot of blinds lost several days of hunting opportunity and just
resumed hunting Wednesday or Thursday as the thaw was slow in coming.
Despite some single digit temps last week the number of ducks across the
region did not increase as much as most hunters had hoped.
Hunting reports from popular wildlife management areas the last two
weeks have been mediocre at best. Blinds in Big Sandy and Gin Creek fell
victim to ice a few days as did several in West Sandy’s Springville
bottom. Camden and Dover bottoms were in the same boat.
Prior the cold fronts hunting had been below average for the lion’s
share of duck hunters in those units who got off to pretty good start in
the early season but quickly fell off once December arrived with an
extended spell of mild weather.
Homra Guide Service
Most duck hunters thought activity would improve with the recent cold
spell but the weather did not deliver the ducks in sufficient numbers
for most of the region. In fact, the most current waterfowl survey taken
on the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge showed duck numbers decreased
at a time when they should have been building.
Aerial surveys taken about ten days ago help tell the story of how duck
hunters fared in recent weeks. The survey’s total duck count was 93,158,
which was down 11 percent from a mid-December survey but a whopping 52
percent below last year at this same time.
compared to the 5-year average the duck numbers were 47 percent below the
5-year average; 46 percent below the 10-year average; and 45 percent below
the 20-year average for this time of the year on the refuge.
why duck numbers declined at a time when they should have been increasing
is somewhat confusing and very disappointing to waterfowlers. No doubt the
number of ducks has changed in the last week or so in the aftermath of the
severe weather but hunters in most areas have not seen a big influx.
Meanwhile, duck hunters are about to run out of tomorrows as season’s end
is fast approaching. Warmer weather is in the forecast as the weekend
approaches and for some that isn’t too bad as hunters are tired of
fighting ice. A lack of wind has also been a factor as ducks have been
reluctant to move on the stagnant days and there have a lot of them this
WATERFOWL SEASON DRAWS TO A CLOSE…YOUTH HUNTS AHEAD
For the older birds season draws to a close Sunday at sunset. Youngsters
ages 6-15 years of age will get two more cracks at duck and goose hunting
when two special Saturdays earmarked for the Youth Waterfowl Hunt arrive
January 31 and February 7.
Duck hunters across the Volunteer State will see the curtain fall on a
60-day season that opened way back on November 22. After a five-day
closure the second segment resumed on November 29 and has been going
strong since then.
After an unusually warm week it appears some cool weather will help bring
the season to a close and most duck hunters are hoping to end it on a good
This week’s warm spell with temperatures climbing into the upper 50’s and
even reaching the 60-degree mark a day or two did not fare well for weary
waterfowlers across most of the region.
Last year at this time frigid temperatures descended and the last full
week of season was a pretty good one across West Tennessee before ice
entered the picture. This year, however, the weather has seemed for like
late fall and has favored fishermen more than it has duck hunters.
There have been some exceptions as a few blinds toward Obion and Forked
Deer River bottoms have fared well some days as the lion’s share of ducks
have favored many backwater zones west of Kentucky Lake. Several blinds on
Reelfoot Lake reported decent shooting the last week or so as well.
Although a few blinds always seem to have good luck the overall waterfowl
picture has been pretty tough for the bulk of hunters who have logged a
lot of slow mornings this season in many public hunting areas. Despite
decent food such as corn and millet in some wildlife management areas
ducks did not flock to many units on a consistent basis even when some
cold weather arrived.
There always seems to be the have and have not’s. As is the case in real
estate duck blinds and hunters know a lot has to do with three things:
location, location, and location!
Too bad the ducks don’t appreciate how much we spend; how far we drive,
and how early we rise!
Here is a phone video clip from a Reelfoot Lake youth hunt..."Smokin
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