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Southwest Oregon waterfowl report

By Tyler Lake
11/20/15 – The first month of the 2015-16 waterfowl season is in the bag, and there is no surprise on the narrative. Having such a dry year meant not much water left in the valley going into the fall for birds to use. Leading into this season, there were a small number of ducks that had settled in before the opener, but they were quickly pushed out with the hunting pressure of the first couple weekends. Those factors along with the lack of that nasty weather that we’ve all been longing for has added up to less than respectable numbers of birds in our first month.

Tyler Lake holding his limit of dabblers, photo by Tyler Lake
«Author with limit of dabblers taken in Southwest Oregon this month.

The good news…the storms have finally hit, and things have changed -- fast. The first big movement of birds is in! With the wet and cold weather finally beginning to show itself, we are seeing the results of new birds moving south into our area. Last weekend many good size wads of ducks could be seen moving around in waves confirming that the northern birds have moved in, and in exciting fashion.

We found ourselves echoing one another this weekend in the blind about when the last time this many northern Mallards were in the valley, this early in the year. Plenty of ducks to be had right now, so get under them while you can! With our weather forecast looking to get colder as November closes out, we are poised to have a solid run for the remainder of the month.

Two men in camo, with limit of dabbers, photo by Tyler Lake
The author and brother, Bryson with a stack of early-season ducks from the east side.

We typically spend our first month of waterfowl hunting in the Upper Klamath region, where numbers are much higher than those in the valley. For those hunters looking for larger numbers of decoying birds and more water space to occupy with your hunting group, that don’t mind the drive over the hill, it’s well worth the commute. We start to give the local holes more than just a “drive-by” scout when a couple things happen; the weather hits up north and the static water in Klamath begins to freeze up, leaving birds less space to occupy and defaulting migrators either go southbound or over our way. This typically happens around the end of November and early December. As our climate is much warmer than Klamath, we generally evade the long-term freezing of open water on the valley floor leaving some good opportunities to be had on the local ponds and sloughs when waves of migrating birds make their way to us in the colder months of our season.

Happy Hunting!

Editor’s note: Tyler Lake is a Southern Oregon native who grew up hunting and fishing the hills and waters he writes about. He is the owner of Back Country Native, an outdoor lifestyle brand that offers sportsmen apparel and gear inspired by the great outdoors.

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