Neosho Waterfowl Hunters Enjoy Record Harvest

The good old days are now

ST. PAUL - Waterfowl hunters at the Neosho Wildlife Area harvested a record number of ducks this past regular waterfowl season. During 4,701 hunter trips, duck hunters harvested 9,275 ducks, averaging almost two ducks per hunter on each trip.

Since the first duck season on the wildlife area in 1962, this is the highest harvest ? by more than 250 ducks. The ducks-per-hunter average ranks as the second highest ever recorded, and the hunter participation ranks 11th. Long-term participation and harvest averages reveal how good a season this really was. Over the past 43 seasons, the wildlife area has averaged 3,797 hunter trips, with an average harvest of 4,342 ducks.

The Neosho Wildlife Area is relatively small in comparison with many areas managed for waterfowl. The area encompasses 3,246 acres, of which fewer than 1,000 are flooded and open to waterfowl hunters on a daily basis throughout the season. Waterfowl hunter participation and success is almost as variable as the weather.

For almost half of the season, hunters averaged better than two ducks per trip. On one occasion, hunters averaged better than four ducks for the day. On 10 days, the average was better than three ducks. The most ducks harvested in any one day was 414 ? on Jan. 22. There were an additional 10 days where hunters harvested more than 200 ducks.

On the highest participation for any one day, 142 hunters hit the marsh. The fewest for any one day was 16, and there were nine days with more than 100 hunters. Harvest composition was comprised of 69 percent mallards, 13 percent green winged teal, and 5 percent gadwall. All other species comprised less than 3 percent of the total harvest.

Needless to say, the "good old days" of waterfowl hunting are not a thing of the past, at least at Neosho Wildlife Area.