Cold and snow greet central ND hunters
Central North Dakota Opening Weekend (Nonresident) Report – 9/30/18
Just got back from the cleaning shed, having gone through a batch of mallards, Canada geese, blue-wing and green-wing teal, gadwalls and a ringneck. No pintails tonight, but a lot around as well as wigeon. It is a balmy 34 degrees and currently snowing.
It has been cold for a week and looks to be cold for another few days with snow predicted. Cranes are in and swans have begun moving in along with the green-wings. It feels like mid-October. The blue-wings are hanging in there but after tonight’s snow that may be the trigger they have been waiting for; even so there are a lot of big ducks around already – mostly mallards, gaddies and wigeon, few redheads or cans. Cacklers (small Canada geese) also started showing up today.
It would be fair to summarize this weekend as good early, with lots of birds everywhere, but after they were shot off the primary fields and sloughs, they quickly left for more remote areas, and stayed there unless or until disturbed. Winds have been modest, often from the south or east and so the ducks are not going anywhere until we get that strong northwest wind. Hunting pressure was fair on Saturday, very light on Sunday. Some hunters targeting mallards on field sets west of us did very well.
We continue to lose water in central ND, most sloughs are ringed with mud. The birds definitely have a preference for certain sloughs – not too deep, not heavily vegetated. If you can find one they are using, they will continue to return day after day until they leave for good. Most sloughs around us can be waded across with waders or hippers; no need for boats. Pheasants are few, sharpies fairly common. Lots of burrs everywhere this year. Check back for more reports throughout the season – we will be hunting every day.