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Big cold snap could drive ducks, geese toward county hunters
A mallard drake and hen sought shelter from the sun in an area pond. Photo by Randy Tucker

Big cold snap could drive ducks, geese toward county hunters

Dec 2, 2012 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Duck and geese hunters in Fremont County can expect a large migration of birds this season. Wyoming Game and Fish announced Nov. 27 that many birds have not left northern wetlands.

A major cold snap will freeze the waters in Alberta, Canada, and Montana and in the western Dakotas, sending the birds south. While the marshes, lakes and streams are still open, birds will settle in local waters and cross the sights of Fremont County hunters.

Game and Fish waterfowl biologist Larry Roberts said there are still many birds up north.

"While some birds have gone through, any cold snap in areas to the north will push more birds our way," he said.

Local hunters wanting to get a jump on the birds should keep a close watch on the weather.

"They can cover a lot of miles," said Game and Fish information specialist Al Langston. "It could only be a matter of a day or two."

Fremont County lies on the central flyway. Birds from Canada's northwest arctic coast travel down, joining others in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Flying to the east of the Rocky Mountains, the birds stop in Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming before making their way through the Great Plains to Mexico.

Parts of Wyoming west of the continental divide are on the Pacific flyway and those birds originate from other areas.

Langston said waterfowl stop at the rivers, and good nearby areas for duck and goose hunting are around Ocean Lake and on the Big Horn River near Thermopolis.

Chairman of the Riverton Ducks Unlimited chapter Jeremy Christiansen said he hunts geese on his family's farm.

"Any farm ground where there's been any grain harvested is good," he said.

He has seen decent numbers of birds this year and said he looks forward to more coming into the area.

"If you hunt them in one field they don't come back," he said. "You need new groups."

The season for ducks, mergansers and coots in Fremont County lasts until Jan. 22. Local hunters can shoot dark geese until Dec. 2 and again after Dec. 8 until Feb. 4. The light goose season lasts until Dec. 30 and resumes Jan. 30 to Feb. 17.

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