It’s disheartening to some Illinoisans when they hear heavy snows are on the way to the Dakotas and Saskatchewan or that the gales of November are here.
But duck hunters are, well, strange birds in this way: Snow and ice-up in the Great Plains and strong west winds both would be great news.
That’s the word from Chris Potthoff of rural Ladd, who hunted on the opening days Oct. 20-21 for duck season in Illinois’ Northern Zone and who stayed in the Northern Zone in the Illinois Valley on the Southern Illinois Zone's opening days Oct. 27-28. He said the arrival of the ducks depends a lot on the weather in the Dakotas and Canada, and even when there’s snow there, the big flocks sometimes don’t drop in around here unless there’s a strong west wind.
But really, it’s difficult for hunters to guess what they’ll find when they go to a blind or a club.
“It’s a crapshoot,” Potthoff admitted.
He said he and his son got eight blue-winged teal and even one green-winged teal early in the season, and they’ve mainly been seeing diving ducks as well some gadwall and wigeon.
They haven’t seen the flocks of migratory mallards yet.
He said if ducks do arrive in big numbers, they should find plenty of food. The duck clubs planted corn, millet and milo, which thrived in the bottomland during the drought, and now those areas are pumped full of water.