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Saake said even during the drought the lake remains a good spot for waterfowl because of an abundance of Widgeon grass which can help the birds thrive.
There were nearly 3,400 waterfowl hunters in the state who harvested nearly 44,000 ducks. Walker Lake near Hawthorne, for example, had a population of more than 25,000. Western drought disrupts Nevada duck migration With reservoirs and marshes low or even dry many migrating ducks bypass Silver State Check out this story on rgj.
- A recent aerial survey by Nevada Waterfowl Association aimed at taking inventory of the state's waterfowl populations shows many sources of water are dried up or are drastically low.
- Another survey in Elko County showed Ruby Lake at less than 30 percent and Franklin Lake Wildlife Management Area as dry.
- As duck hunters head to Nevada's backcountry this season they're likely to find fewer ducks thanks to the ongoing western drought that's gripping the state.
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The bodies of three men who disappeared during a duck hunting trip on Texas' Gulf Coast have been found, authorities said Sunday. The peak number of ducks harvested was 122,092 in 1998, according to the state. The survey showed water levels at 30 percent of normal or less at Carson Lake, Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge and Leter Reservoir. There are some places, however, that continue to provide decent habitat for ducks.
- "(Waterfowl) are going to hit here and they are going to overfly.
- "An area like Walker Lake is critically important in years like this," he said.
- "It can sustain really large populations of birds.
- "We are just a fraction of what we would normally expect to see," he said.
- "When Nevada has water we have good duck hunting," said Chris Healy, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
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Saake surveyed seven locations and counted a total of about 50,000 ducks. Since the state intriduced duck stamps in 1997 the peak number of hunters in one season was 8,752 in 1997. That's well below previous high years when he's counted hundreds of thousands or even normal years when he's identified 50,000 or more at one site. The bodies of three men who disappeared during a duck hunting trip on Texas' Gulf Coast have been found, authorities said Sunday.
If habitat is sparse they keep flying until they find an attractive place to land.If they find habitat they stick around and make nests and their numbers continue to build throughout the season.It showed Humboldt Wildlife Management Area at 0 percent.
Saake said southbound migrating ducks can arrive in Nevada beginning in August and continuing through the fall.
Ruby Lake in Elko County also had more than 6,000 ducks despite low water.
- "They will look for any water they can find," he said.
- According to Ducks Unlimited Redheads breed in the northern prairies of the United States and Canada and intermountain marshes of the west.
- The drought is drying up traditional migratory stopovers in Nevada and that means many are simply skipping the state altogether on their annual trip south, according to wildlife experts.
- "Most of our marshes in Nevada are dry now," said Norm Saake, a retired Nevada Department of Wildlife waterfowl biologist who continues to conduct aerial surveys.
But with little water available Nevada hunters don't benefit.Duck populations in Nevada, like water levels, are also below previous years, according to Saake's surveys and Department of Wildlife numbers.