What a Disappointment!!! It had some high-lights, as does every season, and every day that you’re hunting and not working is a great day, but after last year’s great season and the “record” predictions they put forward about populations this year, I think most of Virginia’s hunters walked away from this year feeling let down. I sure know I’m not on cloud nine rejoicing about all the great hunts that I went on. I almost want to sell my waterfowl gear and take up crow hunting, HA! Anybody want to buy some duck/goose gear that’s been hunted hard and put away wet? I’m kidding, so please don’t start calling and making offers. I just hope next year is better. If it’s any worse then I’m moving north.
From what I read and hear through the grapevine, the are actually a lot of ducks and geese out there this year, but with Canada and the northern US largely snow and ice free the birds didn’t come south. Even states to our north had a poor season, a slow start, and found themselves having to hunt differently than in normal years. Swamps and ponds that were normally frozen in the late season were still open, and the birds were not concentrated on the big water like they normally are. They were suffering the same problems we were. In fact, I think it was a big problem nationwide, even though the western part of the country wasn’t quite as bad off as the eastern half.
As duck season progressed to Christmas time I found myself saying that while it wasn’t a good season, at least we could enjoy the last few weeks, since we had to get some cold weather in January. Unfortunately as we worked our way through January it became clear that that prediction was wrong, and I found myself saying wait and see, they’ll all show up as soon as the season closes, and we’ll be covered up in ducks during the February goose season. Once again I was wrong. This is the first year I can remember that we haven’t had a hard freeze and some snow during February. Oh well, maybe Al Gore is right, the world is warming. I hope not. We need a mini Ice Age to kick in for the next few decades, preferably one that sticks around as long as I do.
If we have a few more years with warm winters like this, we might find that the birds get used to staying north all winter, and we might really be facing some extremely hard hunting. At least some birds came south this year, more from habit than necessity I expect. The one upside I can see to this year, if there is one, is that with the lack of cold and harsh conditions to put stress on the birds, and the greatly reduced hunter effort/success, the birds should be in great condition when they head north to nest. If only mother nature will cooperate this spring on the nesting grounds, next year should be a “record-record” year. Woo-hoo! I can’t wait.
Pray for cold weather next year everybody. Snow on the ground from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day would suit me just fine. One can dream.