Duck Populations Decline

Biologists say duck numbers have declined 11 percent in U.S. and Canada

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Many duck hunters have been singing the blues over the last few seasons, because the ducks simply haven’t been showing up. Optimism keeps us out there, as biologists have assured us that duck populations are doing better than ever before. But even that bit of good news may be taken down a notch this season.

Surveys conducted in May to reflect duck counts show duck populations have declined from 36.2 million to 32.2 million-a drop of 11 percent, since last year. Ducks Unlimited biologist Bruce Bratt says the low numbers are due to the lack of winter precipitation. The drought has caused many traditional breeding areas to go dry.

According to, the survey showed that breeding populations have dropped anywhere from 4 to 38 percent in parts of Canada and the United States. However, a few areas, such as the western Dakotas, northern Saskatchewan, Manitoba and western Ontario, showed increases in breeding numbers of up to 15 percent.