2016 Waterfowl Reports
I can't KNOW they are honest any more than you can KNOW they are not. I believe most people are generally honest and try to do a good job. Further, no one gets a job at the DNR for the money - most start there because they enjoy the outdoors just like we do and want to see things better. Trust me, I want BETTER. But there is a difference between wanting better and know how to help make it better.
Regarding a few of your examples, less salmon are planted on LM because there are less alewife. More spearing is allowed because that's what they negotiated. Waterfowl is less abundant now than when I was a kid because more people are hunting and there are fewer lakes with cover and food available to hold the birds. Birds of prey are back because DDT is finally making it out of the biosystem.
I read something a while back on the decline in the snoeshoe hare population - my poor memory suggest predators was the most likely cause.
BTW, that fat guy in the red suit must have left my decoys at the wrong house. Anyone reading this - if you got them, please do the right thing and get them to the proper home...
How do you know no one inflates waterfowl numbers? Think about it...the USFWS and specifically the WI DNR are wrong all the time and continually wreck things. How do you know this is not political? Examples from my side: Less planting of salmon on lake michigan, more indian spearing/netting allowed, no wild pheasant population, most lakes with stunted fish, waterfowl only around on migration days, deer numbers in most places almost extint (but yet the wolves flourish), cottontail/snoeshoes/partridge all almost non-existent. Rodents, birds of prey and predator animals flourish.
You can choose to ignore or demand better.
Danio........ I too remember hunting in the 70's, started in 1970. I agree there was more ducks, but on the other hand falls got colder earlier, seasons were shorter, limits were lower. It's a gamble with the weather, this last season the mid October birds didn't show up till mid November, any way you look at it things are changing and not for the better.
If you look at the figures posted on Duck Hunting Nation you'd be appalled by the slaughter that goes on in the Southern States .We should bait the refuges like we used to do at Horicon Marsh . Face it , the ducks breed in the Dakotas and Canada and winter down South . They bypass Wisconsin during the Fall Migration . They have flooded rice fields waiting for them in Arkansas and Louisiana .During the Seventies they used to dry out the Grand River marsh and refill it in the Fall , We had great shooting then !
Take off the tin foil hat... :)
It may be possible that the methodology used to estimate waterfowl numbers is flawed (not likely) but no one is intentionally inflating the waterfowl population estimates. I too see less birds than I'm used to seeing 20+ years ago, but what the little voices are telling me is the habitat in the areas I hunt has deteriorated and there appears to be more hunting pressure. Combine that with the unusually warm falls we have been having the last handful of years and it makes a lot of sense that we appear to be seeing fewer birds.
Enjoy your Christmas - I hope everyone gets a few decoys from the fat guy in the red suit.
with a change in administration I would assume the fish and wildlife service would get their act together. The DNR has been lieing about numbers for a long time. yes migration days are ok along with the final push. The problem is mud motors not allowing any spot on a lake for ducks to rest as number 1. Number 2 is there are a lot more fishermen in the fall then there ever used to be so boat traffic is a problem. And number 3 is there simply isn't the ducks there once was. I still kill my ducks but it is not what it once was. Way less bigger flocks. Ducks there is are not staying. I used to get upset at hunters years ago but the lack of being conservationists is amazing. Horicon only holds 50,000 geese when it use to hold 300,000. On and on and on.
We will take several trips yet, N IL is still holding alot of geese up and down the Fox River corridor. We do really well in the cornfields east of Rockford. But my sources down there are telling me alot of geese got pushed with the cold a bit further south. So, we will head down in a week or so for the weekend. Hunt those cornfields....It's always worth the trip down there.
Probably went on the last goose hunt of this season on Sat afternoon, as this really cold weather is finally closing up the last pockets of open water on the lakes around me that have been still holding birds and this week is just too busy with everything else. Saw probably upwards of a thousand geese- flight after flight coming off the lake to go feed- probably only had about 15 min during the hunt when there wasn't a flight of geese in the air. We couldn't get to them on the feeding fields, so set up a big spread to try and short stop them going to and from, ended up with 6 fat northern honkers that came out of the groups that came in for a closer look. A good hunt to end the season on a high note.