January Starts with Wild Weather and Water is Still an Issue
The week between Christmas and New Years just about had it all in regards to weather. Ice locking up shallow water one day, 70 degrees a few days later, then thunderstorms with lightning scattering ducks all over the Grand Prairie. Arkansas even saw some deadly tornadoes around the holidays. For many, the two weeks leading up to the holidays were some of the best Arkansas duck hunters have seen in years. Consistent success and no signs of shooting the ducks out.
Now that we are into the first week of January things have slowed for most, hopefully that is temporary. The Brinkley area is holding more ducks than it has all season and we have even received some reports of new ducks finding their way into Northeast Arkansas. Lack of water and habitat won't allow those ducks to stay there long once the hunters get active.
What a difference a year makes. This time last year east Arkansas was completely underwater after huge rains the week of Christmas. Many hunters were washed out until the water fell out that last two weeks of the season.
2010-2011 has been a tough season for Northeast Arkansas duck hunters. The water just hasn't been there to hold ducks for any length of time and many farmers have turned fields over in preparation for this year's farming. Hopefully this latest push of some new ducks will kickstart things up there, even for just a little bit.
Bayou Meto WMA, with very little water flooding the timber, had a good run just before the holidays. The news of that success didn't take long to spread and word was there was a hunter behind every tree. No news there.
The Cache River hasn't held much water all year and the White River is forecasted to be at 12 feet by Sunday, which is 14 feet below flood stage. Unfortunately, duck season is just not going to happen this year for those dependent on the White to produce their water to hold ducks.
There are still a lot of ducks in Southeast Missouri which may lead to another big push into east central and southeast Arkansas. A strong cold snap is due to head our way Sunday so that might happen sooner than later if the conditions get right. Weather along the Mississippi Flyway this weekend:
- Sioux Falls, SD - low of -5 on Saturday night
- Clarinda, IA - low of 10 on Saturday night
- Poplar Bluff, MO - low of 18 Saturday night
If Arkansas can get another good push, many hunters feel this will be there best season since 1999-2000. Then we have a whole other set of waterfowlers that haven't even gone due to lack of water. Definitely a year of the haves and have nots.
Those that have, enjoy. Those that have not, in the words of an eternally optimistic duck hunter...there is always next year.