Waterfowl Report: Winter weather encourages birds to migrate south to Mississippi

Published 3:43 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Winter weather might have pushed more birds into the Mississippi Delta last week according to Houston Havens and Darrin Hardesty with the MDWFP Waterfowl Program. They released their weekly waterfowl report which is a summary of data collected from public and private land in Mississippi. 

Winter weather on Friday pushed many ducks down into the state but the cold conditions made hunting a challenge with ice. Birds were prone to finding deep water habitats on lakes, oxbows, bayous and rivers. 

Weather looks quite different this week with the high temperatures reaching the 70s this weekend. It is a stark contrast to the 15 degree Friday with 0 degree windchill. While warm weather is not always ideal for hunting, hunters might have success as the frozen wetlands begin to thaw out and birds move to shallow water for food resources. 

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The report states additional rainfall this weekend might make hunting difficult as it creates more areas for ducks to go so they are not as heavily concentrated.

Mallard harvests increased last week and snow, blue, Ross’s and Speckle-bellied geese numbers increased in the Mississippi Delta last week. Availability of wetland habitat and weather conditions will continue to influence the harvest trends this season. 

Howard Miller WMA, near Rolling Fork, reported 137 visits with 231 harvests which has an average of 1.69 birds per visit. Mahannah WMA, north of Vicksburg, had 215 visits with 421 harvests with an average of 1.96 birds per visit. Sunflower WMA, in Sharkey County, reported 135 visits with 69 harvests and 0.51 birds per visit. Upper Sardis, near Oxford, reported 13 visits with 2 harvests with 0.15 birds per visit.