By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show
Ohio’s waterfowl hunting seasons are underway, or will be by month’s end, statewide. According to a study last spring, the duck population across North America declined, but most species remain above long-term averages, according to the 2019 Waterfowl Population Status Report released late last month, so biologists are calling for numbers that hunters are likely to see to be similar to the past few seasons across Ohio.
The annual survey, conducted jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service since 1955, puts the breeding duck population at 38.90 million, a 6% decrease from last year’s population of 41.19 million, but still 10% above the long-term average. The 2019 survey marks the first time since 2008 that the estimated breeding duck population has fallen below 40 million.
There is good news to be found in the survey, however: Ohio waterfowl hunters’ most popular targets — mallards — increased 2% to 9.42 million, 19% above the long-term average.