The 2021 North America waterfowl hunting season will remain the most intensively studied wildlife event in the world until official calculations are released for the fall flights of 2022. The immediate outlook, scientists concede, suggest this upcoming season will offer below-average yields. Alas, “well below” may be the most accurate assessment once the smoke clears.
Across much of the continent’s northcentral and northwestern latitudes, to include that critical southern arc of Canada, excessive heat and bone-dry conditions prevailed for much of ‘21, which led the chiefs of biology to predict a down cycle in waterfowl production. When waterfowl hatches are negligible, experts confide, fewer ducks – particularly the easier-to-decoy new ducks of the year – leads to an anemic harvest across public and private venues.
This is not the sort of year for a much-needed rebound in pintail recruitment, so that remains an ongoing concern.
Thankfully, the Atlantic Flyway was not much affected by these weathers. East Coast watermen may even enjoy an uptick in duck numbers.
The generally strong carryover of older, wiser birds throughout North America should not add to the limiting factors of ‘21, which also presents a silver-lining to the year’s actuals and beyond. Thanks to a half century of rigorous sportsman-led waterfowl conservation, the flyways are currently well positioned for future population booms.
Expert prognostications or not, the combined focus and drive of duck hunters is a proverbial force of nature – waterfowlers will witness the 2021 flights for themselves, often under conditions that exceed the brutalities of polar exploration. The best of them will find great satisfaction in the coming months by fooling measures of these aged ducks, these most suspicious masters of wing and wind.
The Mossy Oak commitment to camouflage design for waterfowlers – to include its newest Shadow Grass Habitat, plus the vintage purities of the iconic Bottomland pattern – speaks to the uncommon determination of waterfowlers and the extreme enthusiasts who best equip them. It is also a category of aficionado within the broader outdoor set that’s characterized by an unmatched capacity for conservation, the art and science of wise-use management.
It is a sector blessed with super heroes to include the preeminent Ducks Unlimited, a science-based habitat machine comprising the public, the public’s appointees in government and private businesses, to include ongoing pledges with Mossy Oak and others.
How we arrived in 2021 with some stability in wetland loss and resilient waterfowl populations is absolutely the work of God, collectives of determined people and an alphabet soup of American legislation, which began with a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1842 – the legal flashpoint of wildlife as a public trust.
Unfortunately, another 50 years of rawboned manifest destiny (and the unbridled commercial destruction of natural resources) would follow before additional law and law enforcement began refining the American conservation movement. Chronologically, these highlights of legal precedent include: the General Revision Act (1891), Lacy Act (1901), Weeks-McLean Act (1913), Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918), Migratory Bird Conservation Act (1929), Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act (1934), Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (1937), North American Waterfowl Management Plan (1986) and the North American Wetland Conservation Act (1991).
These laws, together with the evolution of rafts of federal agencies like the U.S. Department of the Interior (1849), represent the teeth of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. And since its establishment in 1937, our most-important partners at Ducks Unlimited remain the master cylinder within this continental conservation dynamo.
Mossy Oak encourages you to join or renew your relationship with DU by visiting www.ducks.org – and to visit Sportsman Channel for premier episodes of DUTV, the longest running, conservation-based outdoor series on television. Beginning in 2021, Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. EST, DUTV, which is co-produced by Mossy Oak’s MOOSE Media, leads off The Landing Zone presented by Ducks Unlimited, the category’s most comprehensive wing-shooting block.
Further, early this November, the Mossy Oak GO digital network will again be premiering its Friday Night Live Waterfowl block. Download the free app immediately and engage with Waterfowl Live on your favorite entertainment devices – anytime, anywhere.
On behalf of Mossy Oak our conservation and entertainment associates Ducks Unlimited, here’s to another exciting and safe 2021-’22 waterfowl season!