Any thoughts that Mississippi duck hunters had that the early migration brought on by freakish November cold fronts would be short lived ... forget about it.
According to reports, it just keeps getting better and better.
Despite deplorable conditions this past weekend — at least for anything other than duck hunting, hunters kept finding plenty of incoming waterfowl, including their cherished mallards.
“Yes sir, they’re still coming in,” said Jacob Sartain, who has guided several successful hunts dating back to the first November season. “We’re seeing and shooting a lot of greenheads just about every trip. The hunting is as good as I remember for this early in the season.”
So good is it that some hunters who haven’t chased ducks in over a decade are buying non-toxic shot, patching old waders or buying new ones, gathering up dust-covered decoys and going hunting.
“First thing I remembered when I went last weekend was just how cold I used to get, which is one reason I guess I quit about 10 or 12 years ago,” said Daniel Smith of Jackson. “But this year I joined the family’s deer and duck camp in the Delta and we’ve been seeing all these ducks during deer season, so we decided to go.
“It was awful, I mean weather wise; it was spitting rain, blowing a gale and cold. But hunting wise, it was great. We killed a bunch of ducks including a limit of mallards and that’s pretty good for a bunch of guys who haven’t been in a long, long time.”
As cold as it has been in Mississippi, and that’s plenty cold for us, it has been brutal north of here, like in Missouri and other Midwestern states that normally hold ducks longer during the migration.
Sub-freezing conditions all through the upper half of the Mississippi River Flyway have pushed ducks south, mainly into Arkansas and Mississippi.
“We had one of the best weekends we’ve had in December, and there haven’t been many January weekends that have matched it in recent years,” said Joe Barnes of Senatobia. “I hunt over in DeSoto and Tate counties and we hit both of them Saturday and Sunday and, my gosh, you should have seen the ducks. We had six hunters both days in two different stands both days and we limited on mallards and had everything from a black duck to green wings to two pintails.”
Mississippi’s waterfowl season continues through Jan. 26.
“If it keeps getting better, man, this is going to be the best season we’ve ever had and I’ve been at it nearly 40 years,” Barnes said.
It will be the best Smith has had, at least in a long, long while.
“I still hate getting cold and wet at the same time but if the hunting is going to be this good, count me in,” he said.