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Iowa has had a wet start to summer and now a wet end to summer filling wetlands and marshes across the state and flooding crop fields in certain areas. Adding to the mix that local Iowa ducks had a good hatch this spring and these young ducks are now spread out and using newly flooded areas for food and cover.
Regardless if you hunt from waders or a boat, the conditions are looking good heading ahead of Iowa's duck hunting season opener.
"Right now there's a lot of water out there and a lot of places for the ducks to go and they are taking advantage of that," said Orrin Jones, state waterfowl biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "With all these new options available, hunters may see fewer ducks in traditional places. Scouting will be particularly important this year."
Jones said hunters who find these new areas frequented by ducks and can get access, have the potential for excellent hunting.
While the local ducks are enjoying the new areas, warm and stable weather has not moved many of the early migrating species into the state.
"If we get the right weather conditions, we could get an impressive migration," Jones said. "If not, there are a lot of areas where the birds can get away to. I know it sounds like a broken record, but the best way hunters can have success is to spend time scouting and find the birds."
The daily bag and possession limits for 2016 are unchanged from 2015. The DNR posts wetland reports and weekly migration surveys on its website at https://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Migratory-Game-Birds.
Ducks, Mergansers and Coots
North Zone: Sept. 24-Oct. 2; and Oct. 15-Dec. 4
South Zone: Oct. 1-5; and Oct. 22-Dec. 15
Missouri River Zone: Oct. 8-9; and Oct. 22-Dec. 18
Dark Geese- Canada Geese, Brant and White-fronted Geese
North Zone: Sept. 24-Oct. 9; and Oct. 15-Jan. 4, 2017
South Zone: Oct. 1-9; and Oct. 22-Jan. 18, 2017
Missouri River Zone: Oct. 8-16; Oct. 22-Jan. 18, 2017
Light Geese – White and Blue-phase Snow Geese and Ross’ Geese
North Zone: Sept. 24-Oct. 9; and Oct. 15-Jan. 13, 2017
South Zone: Oct. 1-9; and Oct. 22-Jan. 27, 2017
Missouri River Zone: Oct. 8-16; and Oct. 22-Jan. 27, 2017