Duck, Ice and River Report for Northeast Arkansas

December 11, 2018

We know duck season has hit full swing as I was greeted this morning with a half inch of ice at my Black River farm. Ducks had been in there rafted up for several days, and we just KNEW that we were going to get them today. Boy were we wrong. The ice showed up and in a hurry. We were breaking a half inch of ice all the way in this morning, and at that point I realized we were in trouble. The ducks left the woods when the ice showed up and this morning’s hunt was a total bust. The good news is that it is warm today and the ice will be melted by tomorrow. With the strong reports I am getting from up and down the Black River, I believe they will be back in the woods at White Oaks Black River by tomorrow or the next day. I’ll be looking for a little payback…

Elsewhere across the state I am getting reports all across the board. The Cache is falling, but with it having current and many fields being frozen this morning, I suspect the Cache River hunters had a good day or two. Having the advantage of open water will be gone by tomorrow and the Cache will be back in it’s banks by then too, so…

White Oaks Duck Woods is holding several birds, but again, nothing particularly noteworthy. What is noteworthy is the number of birds holding in the surrounding areas. I have long surmised that White Oaks trades birds back and forth with the Cache River, so I always want the Cache to be flooded, therefore keeping lots of habitat and ducks in the general area (versus losing those ducks to other parts of the state). I believe this theory gained some traction as I had an Instagram follower message me with a band report from a band he killed this week. This gentleman killed a banded greenhead in a field just off the Cache River in the Beedeville area. I believe this is a particular area where the ducks trade back and forth with White Oaks. This guy killing a band, that was banded at White Oaks only makes me believe that more. Congrats to @collwellbibb_ on killing that band! Newman!!

We also killed two banded hens at White Oaks this week. One was killed by my 12-year-old son (and he was the only one shooting) and one was killed by a group of 6 in Eagle Lake. They had to draw straws, and Mike Reed was the lucky winner. One was banded at White Oaks and the other was banded in Minnesota. That makes 4 bands killed at White Oaks this year with two being banded at White Oaks and two being banded elsewhere. Heck of a start!

In non-northeast Arkansas related news, I have heard that the Stuttgart area has picked up a major push of birds, which seems overdue. Several big clubs in the area have reported stronger duck numbers and better hunts over the last few days.

The Mississippi River is quite high, although it is now falling pretty quick. I do know there have been a lot of ducks killed along the river over the past 5 days. I would have to believe that will change dramatically as the river falls out.

As far as White Oaks is concerned, the forecast for northeast Arkansas is calling for over 2” of rain Wednesday-Friday. If that holds true, I would guess all the smaller rivers (Cache, Bayou DeView, L’Anguille) will start rising and likely flood. Again, this is great news for White Oaks and all of northeast Arkansas as this keeps ducks in the area and maybe stops them from passing us by on the way to Stuttgart or north Louisiana/Mississippi. The White River is too low for this to threaten the White with an overflow. Plus, Bull Shoals is still abnormally low for this time of year. It is going to take a major, major rain event to fill up Bull Shoals enough to put the White out of its banks. The best chance we have for the White flooding is a big Black River. So, if you are like me and want the rivers in the area flooded, a rain dance is needed… and a rain dance I will do.

In general, I believe that there are a lot more ducks in the state than there were for the first split…duh. It doesn’t take a genius to make that statement, but the hunting reports I am getting seem to back that up.

For a gratuitous video of ducks pouring into the woods at White Oaks, click on the link below. It is old, but ridiculous nonetheless.

I hope y’all find the wind at your back, the sun in their eyes and sky full of mallards. Go get ‘em boys.

The ducks left the woods when the ice showed up and this morning’s hunt was a total bust.
Img 5330 Banded hen killed at White Oaks
Img 5326 A pintail drake killed in the Tennessee Hole
Insane Duck Video
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