Record duck harvest recorded despite dry year PLEASANTON — Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area, near the Missouri border in Linn County, reported a record breaking-year for waterfowl hunters in the 2011-2012 season. Duck hunters reported harvesting more than 8,300 ducks during the 74-day season, shattering the old record of 6,220 in 1997. Duck hunters made 5,160 trips to the wildlife area, bagging an average of 1.6 ducks per hunter trip.
“The hunter success rate we had in the 2011-2012 season is particularly remarkable when one considers the hot, dry summer we had,” says area manager Karl Karrow. “Marsh vegetation that provides habitat for ducks does not produce well under the conditions we had during last year’s growing season, so we used additional management tools — notably pumping water to irrigate marsh plants during the summer — to provide good habitat. And relatively mild weather this winter didn’t freeze the wetlands. That was a huge factor.”
Nearly 70 percent of ducks harvested were mallards, a species prized by hunters. Green-winged teal were a distant second, comprising only 10 percent of ducks harvested.
“While this is great news for hunters,” Karrow adds, “this is also important to communities near the wildlife area. Most duck hunters come from outside of the local area, and traveling hunters spend money on gas, food, and other supplies at local stores. We saw hunters from North Carolina, Alabama, Iowa, and other states. Any activity that brings more than 5,000 visitors to the area helps the local economy.”
In addition to the regular duck season, early teal season and goose seasons provide opportunities for waterfowl hunters on Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area. For more information, phone Karrow at 913-352-8941, or visit KDWPT’s website,ksoutdoors.com, and click on “Hunting/Where To Hunt In Kansas.”