First Split Over; Late November NE Arkansas Duck Report

November 30, 2018

The first split has come and gone here in Arkansas and it seems like it went by way to fast! At White Oaks, we had some really good hunts and a couple of slow days in the middle of the week.

For once, we had enough cold weather and water before season to really send us some ducks for the opener. The few days before season, were kinda crazy at White Oaks, and I heard similar reports of huge duck numbers all across northeast Arkansas. In fact, the Friday before season opened, we had as many ducks at White Oaks as I have ever seen in November. It was incredible. But, as one might expect, the weather changed, ducks started getting shot, and by Monday and Tuesday we had lost the overwhelming majority of our birds. By early last week I was hearing very few good reports of strong hunts and strong duck numbers in Arkansas--with one exception--the Cache River. The Cache was out much of the week and for the guys that would do some scouting, there were birds to be killed. At White Oaks, we held on to a decent huntable population of mallards through Tuesday. Then they literally left in the night Tuesday night.

Tuesday at dusk, I sat and watched thousands of birds swarm into a field at my farm. With excitement I rounded a few buddies to come hunt the next morning thinking it would be short and sweet. Boy was I wrong. The ducks had left the farm sometime over the course of the night. That field that had been holding 10,000+ birds the evening before had less than 20 on it the next morning. It was a bust. I think the 4 of us managed to scrap out 7 ducks.

I received reports all of northeast Arkansas and even several from down around the Stuttgart area of few birds and tough hunting mid week last week. I theorize that many of the birds had moved back north and were loafing in the flooded bottoms of the Mississippi River in the Bootheel of Missouri and nw Tennessee/eastern Kentucky. The river was at a perfect stage to flood out hundreds of thousands of acres of ideal habitat/crop ground and hunting seasons had not yet opened in those states. I believe the ducks were just sitting there surrounded by millions of their buddies, millions of acres of perfect habitat and food, with no hunting pressure.

But, as is with ducks, everything changed pretty darn quick. Thursday and Friday we started picking up new birds. I suspect that had to do with hunting seasons opening up in Missouri and Tennessee along with the Mississippi River falling. A couple of my groups of hunters had epic hunts Friday morning and by Saturday the entire farm was back on fire. We closed out the split on Sunday by having all 14 hunters on the farm kill full limits of mallards, teal, gadwall, and even a widgeon. It was a great last day of the split. The truth is we were not holding a huge amount of birds, but, the birds were cooperating. It doesn't take many ducks if they are acting like they should! I received several reports from across the state that in general hunting had improved by the end of the first split.

With us being in the middle of the split, it is a little harder to get good duck reports from across northeast Arkansas. I know we picked up several birds at White Oaks Tuesday and Wednesday. With the expected lightning storms headed through the area today, I wouldn't be surprised if we lost most of our birds. Hopefully they will be back before Thursday morning!

As I give these duck reports, please keep in mind that I know there are huge exceptions and variations to my reports. I by no means talk to enough hunters to get an accurate description of what all parts of the state are doing. My ideas of where the ducks move may very well be 10000% incorrect and inaccurate. I am just reporting back what I heard from other reliable sources and my own observations.

I hope you enjoy these reports and I wish all of you a great start to the second split!

Frame 09 01 2018 12 09 00 Ducks Loafing at White Oaks Duck Woods
For once, we had enough cold weather and water before season to really send us some ducks for the opener.
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Tags: duck hunting; Duck Report white oaks duck woods mallards Arkansas hunting