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Waterfowl Report

by Ed Godfrey Published: November 27, 2013
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Duck season is open statewide through Sunday then there is a two-week break in zones 1 and 2 before re-opening on Dec. 14.
Duck season is open statewide through Sunday then there is a two-week break in zones 1 and 2 before re-opening on Dec. 14.

NORTHWEST
Canton – Zone 1: Water level is 13.1 feet below normal. Native vegetation is in good condition, but currently not flooded. Winter wheat around the area is mostly planted and in good condition. Duck numbers are fair. Goose numbers are good. Hunting activity was moderate on the weekend and low on weekdays. Hunting success was fair. The NW portion of the lake is dry, and the only usable boat ramp is at the Canadian Campground day-use area.

Fort Supply – Zone 1: Water level is normal. Habitat conditions are fair; some native food is available around the lake. Local winter wheat is in mostly fair condition. Duck and goose numbers are good. Hunting activity and success not reported, as the area is closed to hunting. Duck numbers increased over this past weekend with recent cold front. Goose numbers are fair. *** NOTE: Fort Supply WMA is CLOSED TO ALL WATERFOWL HUNTING during the first nine days of deer gun season Nov. 23 through Dec. 1. ***

Salt Plains NWF – Zone 1: Lake level is normal. Habitat conditions are good. Duck numbers are about 7,000; goose numbers are about 28,000. Hunter activity is low. Hunter success is poor. Wetland units in public hunting area are dry due to insufficient runoff. Goose hunting may be more successful on wheat fields. Majority of geese were moving out from the lake heading S, SW and SE. Ducks were moving out in all directions.

SOUTHWEST

Fort Cobb – Zone 2: Water level is 5.73 feet below normal. Habitat conditions poor. Local winter wheat is in fair condition. Peanut, soybean and milo harvest is winding down. Duck numbers are high. Goose numbers are high. Hunter activity is low, and success is fair. Walnut Slough WDU is 40 percent full.

Hackberry – Zone 2: Hackberry Flat reservoir and wetland units are dry. Habitat conditions are poor. Some native vegetation is present in wetland units. No ducks or geese are present. No hunter activity.

Mountain Park – Zone 2: Water level is 12.95 feet below normal. There is some flooded vegetation around the lake. Winter wheat is planted on WMA in most fields. Duck numbers are low. Goose numbers are high. Hunter activity is low, and success is good. Seven of the 11 units are flooded on the WDU. Ducks were using the WDU units.

Waurika – Zone 2: Water level is 13.75 feet below normal. Lake is extremely low, and habitat conditions are poor. Area winter wheat is planted and is in good condition. Duck numbers are low. Goose numbers are fair. No reports on hunting activity or success. Wetland units are dry and expected to remain dry throughout season.

NORTHEAST 
Copan – Zone 2: Water level is normal. Habitat conditions are excellent. Native plants on units are excellent; soybean fields on WMA are poor. Duck numbers are fair, and goose numbers are low, mostly resident Canadas. Hunter activity is fair. Success is mixed. Bird movement in the area continues to increase in waterfowl numbers with every frontal passage. There is plenty of vegetation to hold birds. Birds are being seen on all ponds on private property. The main body of the lake is holding a large number of birds.

Deep Fork NWR – Zone 2: Deep Fork NWR wetlands are currently at normal level. Most of Deep Fork wetlands are currently considered to be healthy, with a diversity of plants available to waterfowl. It is likely that Deep Fork NWR will have adequate resources available to waterfowl. Duck numbers are low, but improving after each front.

Eufaula – Zone 2: Water level is normal. Habitat conditions are poor. Farming activity in the area is light. Duck numbers are low. Goose numbers are low, with local resident birds present. Hunter activity is light to moderate. No millet was planted due to summer lake elevations. Native vegetation is very limited due to higher lake elevation through the summer.

Fort Gibson – Zone 2: Water level is 2.17 feet above normal. Habitat conditions are good. Duck and goose numbers are low. Hunter activity and success is low.

Hulah – Zone 2: Water level is 1 feet above normal. Habitat conditions are excellent. Native plants on units and soybean fields on WMA are being harvested. Duck numbers are fair. Goose numbers are low, with resident birds present. Hunter activity is fair and success is mixed. There is plenty of vegetation to hold birds. Birds are being seen on all ponds on private property. The main body of the lake is holding a large number of birds.

Kaw – Zone 2: Water level is 2 feet above normal. Habitat conditions poor; no millet was planted due to late-season flooding, and very little native forage is present. Duck and goose numbers are low. Hunter activity is fair throughout the week and high on weekends. Hunter success is fair on ducks and poor on geese. Bird movement is moderate. Water level will remain at the elevation and will slowly rise to increase boaters’ access to desired hunting areas.

Keystone – Zone 2: Water level is 1.04 above normal. Habitat conditions are fair. Almost all sloughs are holding water in the area. Cottonwood WDU is 50 percent full with good habitat conditions on the northern most part of the unit. Duck and goose numbers are fair. Hunter activity is high and success is good. Some birds arrived with recent cold front.

Oologah – Zone 2: Water level is 0.7 feet above normal. Habitat conditions are good. Duck and goose numbers are low. Hunting activity and success are moderate. A few geese have moved in with the recent fronts.

Sooner – Zone 2: Water level is normal. Habitat conditions on lake are fair. Winter wheat around the area is looking good this year. Duck numbers are fair. Goose numbers are low. Hunter activity is high on weekends and lower during the week. Hunter success is fair. Good movement of ducks with recent cold front.

Webbers Falls – Zone 2: Water level is 3.8 feet above normal. Habitat conditions are good with smartweed, barnyard grass, bidens, cut soybeans, corn, milo and winter wheat in the area. Duck and goose numbers are low. Hunter activity is low, and success is low. Bird movement is slow.

SOUTHEAST

Hugo – Zone 2: Water level is slightly above normal. Habitat conditions are fair. Duck and goose numbers are low. Hunter activity is low. No reports of hunter success.

Red Slough – Zone 2: Wetlands are starting to get flooded with huntable water. Barrow areas are mostly full. Forage is good. Duck numbers are fair, and most of the birds are in the waterfowl refuge area. Goose numbers are low. Hunter activity is low. No reports of hunter success.

Texoma – Zone 2: Water level is 7 feet below normal. Habitat conditions are poor at current lake level. The lake needs to rise 4 feet to get into good habitat. Duck and goose numbers are very low. Hunter activity and success is low. Birds are not stopping due to poor habitat conditions.

Wister – Zone 2: Water level is 1 foot above normal. Habitat conditions are good, with smartweed, sedges and acorns present. Duck numbers are low. Hunter activity is moderate, and success is low. Significant numbers of geese moving south but not stopping.

 

by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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