Wildlife Officials Say Duck Numbers 50 Million Strong

duck flying

There is a record 50 million ducks in North America just waiting to be hunted, which means hunters can look forward to extended seasons and increased bag limits.

The month of September marks the start of duck and geese hunting in many states, and officials with the US Fish and Wildlife Department say the duck population is steady or increasing in much of the United States.

There are an estimated 49.5 million ducks in the United States and northern Canada, up slightly from estimates in 2014 and 43 percent higher than the long-term average since 1955, according to the federal government’s 2015 Waterfowl Population Status Report.

The report includes statistics on duck breeding, American woodcock, mourning doves, mottled ducks, band-tailed pigeons and sandhill crane. Because of the strong numbers, federal officials are encouraging extended hunting seasons and increased bag limits throughout the country. 

In Pennsylvania, the game commission is looking to decrease its geese population from 250,000 down to around 150,000, according to the local WGAL news television. 

In Iowa, duck and pheasant hunting has been extended.

“The populations are there for hunters to have a good season. We have liberal hunting seasons and nearly all wetlands in Iowa have ample water,” Orrin Jones, a waterfowl biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources told the Ames Tribune. “Now the weather, migration patterns and hunters themselves have to come together.”

Photo credit: Dreamstime