Duck Season – December 2020 Report

As an adept waterfowl hunter, let me just say that this has been one challenging season. Now, at the start, yields were excellent, as they were for many others in the Illinois River Valley. We were harvesting four-man limits frequently, and the push of new ducks was right around our opener. Since then, however, things have slowed significantly.The Illinois Natural History Survey shows exceptionally high numbers right now – nearly 423,000 ducks in Illinois, which is more than double the most recent 10-year average.[1]

So, then, why are we experiencing such a mediocre hunting season? Well, we can thank the relatively warmer weather for that. Since the majority of the weather fronts have been dry and accompanied by strong Southerly winds, local birds have not been forced to feed more than once per day, and they’ve been doing so primarily at night.Last week, for instance, we saw temperatures dip down into the teens at night, but the following day warmed back up to over 40°F.

We are not hopeless yet, though! We’ve opted to pull our decoys for the year, but we’re maintaining a handful on the ready to deploy for each hunt. If we can just get some wetter weather, some rain or even a bit of snow, then I have faith that we can end this season strong. Don’t forget, duck numbers are high right now. Keep your eye on the weather; cross your fingers for some rain or snow; and enjoy these last few weeks of the 2020 season!