Brett Roper


Local outdoors columnist

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This year’s upcoming waterfowl season is shaping up to be an interesting one. The primary reasons for this are there will likely be fewer ducks and lower water levels due to the regional drought. Currently, all the watersheds providing water to the Great Salt Lake are considered to be in either severe or extreme drought. Each of the last three years have seen below average precipitation and the Great Salt Lake is currently at a record low, four feet lower than it was in 2019. Given how shallow this lake is, means there is currently little standing water in its Bear River arm.

Unlike the previous two pandemic years, waterfowl breeding bird surveys were conducted in the spring of 2022. Numbers of nearly every duck species commonly harvested in northern Utah and southeastern Idaho, to include mallards, widgeon, gadwall, green-winged teal, and pintails, are all down. The estimated number of breeding ducks was nearly 38.9 million birds in 2019. This year the number is closer to 34.2 million. You have to go back to 2005 to find duck populations that low. It is far lower than the 49.5 million ducks that flew south in 2015.

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