Managers Update -1 0-10-18
Waterfowl abundance: Refuge numbers continue to grow and are much higher than normal for preseason. We’re holding well over 15,000 ducks and the number may be higher, but the birds are still really spread around as hunting pressure hasn’t kicked in yet.
Hunting conditions: We started flooding a bit earlier than normal this year, plus the steady rainfall has really jump started flooding. All zones will have good water for opening day, though we will still be gradually adding water through the season, so water levels will be lower than they were at the end of last year.
Overall, our conditions are average to above average in the cropped zones.
1-18: Corn is doing very well and will be 6-7+ feet in all zones. Small grains are doing well.
21-27: Corn in 21-23 is fantastic and will be 7+ feet and thick in all three zones. 24-27 took significant goose damage, leaving 24 with average cover, 25 slightly below average, and 26 and 27 will have very poor cover. Plan on bringing material to hide yourself and your boat.
28-30: Corn in 28 and 29 is very good and will have excellent cover all year. Zone 30 took significant goose damage as well and is well below average. It will have cover to start the season, but it will be challenging later in the season.
Marshes: Both marshes are looking good, though still weedy early in the season. Water depths are anywhere from just over the ankle to over the waist, depending on the zone. Duck usage was very good in the East Marsh this spring; hopefully that carries over to a stronger fall than 2017.