Marais des Cygnes Waterfowl Report -
Waterfowl numbers

ATTENTION HUNTERS: There is a new check-in system 

All hunters must check-in daily To check-in / check-out. Hunters, go to this site: Use your licensing login credentials to access the check-in / check-out functions. 


Waterfowl species observed: mix species of ducks, Canada goose, and white-fronted goose


Almost completely thawed.  What ice is left, is pretty rotten.      


Water levels

 Small satellite wetlands may not have water until later in the season, if at all.                

Water Level Gauges:

A-North (Reese Lake/north structure): 19"

A-North (middle structure):33.5"

A-North (boat ramp): mostly dry, lowest elevations have water. 

A-East at ramp (new location for 2023): 18"

A-East at outlet: 34.5"

C-South at outlet: 41.5" 

Unit D wetlands: a couple have water

Unit E wetlands: moderate water

F-East at outlet: >48"

F-South at outlet: 30" 

F-West at outlet: 27" 

Unit G: 27" 

Unit H: mostly dry

Refuge Units:

B-North: 26.5"

B-South: 42"


Staff use these gauges to help manage water levels through both pumping and drawdowns.  We will try to provide the level of water as it reads on the gauge.  Hunters should keep in mind this value should be used as an index.  If the gauge reads 15", it doesn't mean there's 15" of water across the whole unit the gauge reading should be used as a reference. Over time it should help provide a better answer to one of the most common questions we get. "How much water is in  _____ unit?"  

Hunting/ Habitat conditions

Moist soil food production was average or better than average across the area.  Summer heat and dry conditions had the cocklebur growing really well.  We have dedicated lots of time to controlling it, but hunters should expect it throughout the area.   

Japanese Millet was planted in a few small areas, but didn't produce well. Corn was left in wide strips through C-South and F-East. 

Summer vegetation was good or better in: A-East, Unit G (made lots of food, but lots of cocklebur too)

Summer vegetation was fair to good in: A-North, F-South, E

Summer vegetation was poor to fair:  F-West

If you like the habitat or water levels in wetlands, be sure to thank the following staff: Seasonal technicians: Cody, Simon, Ron, Alex, and Bryan . Habitat Specialist: Danny. or Assistant Manager: Joe.

If there's something you don't like on the area, be sure to tell the Area Manager, Jacob. 

Hope everyone has a great season.  Enjoy your time in the field!


Season Dates

LOW PLAINS TEAL: Sept. 9-24, 2023


SOUTHESAT LATE ZONE DUCK SEASON OPENS Nov. 11, 2023 - Jan. 7, 2024 and Jan 13-28, 2024

WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE OPENS Oct. 28, - Dec. 31, 2023 and Jan. 20 - Feb. 1, 2024

DARK GOOSE SEASON OPENS Oct. 28-29, 2023 and Nov. 1 - Feb. 11, 2024 

Light GOOSE SEASON OPENS Oct. 28-29, 2023 and Nov. 1 - Feb. 11, 2024

Conservation Light Goose season is from February 12 - April 30, 2024


Please report all banded waterfowl to the appropriate agencies.   

Gas motors are restricted to Unit G and the boat lane in Unit A-East. Outboards cannot be used in any other wetland units. Electric trolling motors are unrestricted.

Atv's of any kind are not allowed on the area (side by sides, utv's, amphibious vehicles, "argos", this also means no electric bicycles)

Campgrounds on the area are primitive. (No electric, No water) Take your trash with you!

Please remember to fill out the daily permit with accurate information. THIS INFORMATION IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE CURRENT AND FUTURE MANAGEMENT OF THE AREA. FILL OUT ONLY YOUR INDIVIDUAL HARVEST EFFORTS, each individual hunter needs to check in/out and report his/her harvest totals. i.e., NOT A GROUP HARVEST TOTAL.