It’s the week of Christmas. Coast to coast, north to south, everyone seems frustrated while awaiting south-bound ducks, asking themselves where in the hell are the ducks?! Is the sky falling? Do we really even have ducks? Or is the answer a little more straight forward? Waterfowl migration guru Dr. Michael Schummer explains what we’re seeing–or not! Using his proprietary forecast model, he even makes a prediction for the upcoming week.

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Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to MOJO’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast. It is the week of Christmas and we’re here today to ask the question that every single duck hunter I know from California to Washington D.C. is asking themselves, where the hell are the ducks? There’s been a lot of conversation going on wondering, where the heck are the ducks? Helping me to figure out and answer that question today is Mr. Mike Schumer. How are you, Mike?

Mike Schumer: I’m good, Ramsey. Thanks for having me on again.

Ramsey Russell: Introduce yourself to everybody you’ve been on here before. It was a great podcast, but it’s been a while. Tell everybody who you are, where you from, what you do.

Mike Schumer: Yeah, real quick and I guess it’s the thing to do a full rundown of where you’ve been and where you’ve hunted ducks and what your education is these days, I hear folks doing that. So I’m currently at the and don’t hold it against me, New York’s a nice rural state with lots of hunters and believe it or not, lots of guns. But I’m at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. I am an associate professor. Last time I was on, I was a senior research associate. But recently, I guess I did enough work that they want to keep me around for a little while doing wetland and duck research. I did, I’m going to do a little roll here on things I’ve been in and people I’ve worked with. So I did a postdoc with Rick Kaminski at Mississippi State. I did my doctoral degree in Ontario with Scott Petrie, who’s now CEO of Delta Waterfowl. I was the game bird biologist for the state of Maine for 3 years and I’ve kicked around to a couple other positions, worked at other academic institutions as well, but hunted up and down the Mississippi, Atlantic Flyway lots of years and kind of cut my teeth on wood ducks and mallards and Canada geese and in Western New York.

Ramsey Russell: And you’re a duck hunter yourself for sure.

Mike Schumer: Oh, yeah. Definitely.

Ramsey Russell: Do you get to do much duck hunting up in New York? Because I have actually driven to Western New York to duck hunt. There’s some great duck hunting out there. Great goose hunting, too.

Mike Schumer: Well, just like the boys in Arkansas, I will tell you, there are no ducks here.

Ramsey Russell: I know better.

Mike Schumer: It can be good. It is a lot of work. We don’t have a lot of birds, but I think I’ve shot ducks and flooded timber off of rivers. I’ve shot field mallards, I’ve shot Canada geese, I’ve shot beaver ponds for wood ducks. I’ve done layout hunts on Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes for diving ducks and sea ducks and it’s a very diverse state with a lot of opportunity. It’s kind of a grind, but it is still a destination and certainly on the east coast now we get a lot of folks from Pennsylvania, New Jersey coming up because when they don’t get their ducks, if they don’t get there, kind of like this year, they start, they get in the truck and hook up the boat and come up to see us and we’re a little grumpy about it, like other states are too, but it is what it is.

Ramsey Russell: You told me yesterday, you fixing to take a little road trip yourself, to kill some ducks.

Mike Schumer: Yeah, I’m really excited about this. So I even applied for a professorship position back at Southeast Missouri State. I did my master’s degree there. My research was out on the Oklahoma-Texas border in Tishomingo. At Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge along the Red river there. But I did my degree at Southeast Missouri State, so I’m going to hang out with some friends I haven’t seen and I don’t even want to count the years, a very long time. And then we’re going to hunt 2 days in the boot heel and then we’re going to go to the Delta in Mississippi and hunt with some friends that we met while I was teaching at Mississippi State University. And then we’re going to go on after 2 days of hunting there to the Texas coast and hunt with a actual prior student of mine who now works for Delta Waterfowl is there our 3 coordinator for the state of Texas and delivers their university hunt program. So we’re going to hunt out of an airboat off the coast there. So the Texas one’s the only one that’s really new for me. The other places are kind of nostalgic hunts. A little worried about how much water there is in Mississippi, though.

Ramsey Russell: You need to be worried about and I don’t have a crystal ball, but my guesstimate and my educated guess is that you don’t need a lot of duck numbers, I guess, to hang out with old buddies and have a good time like you’re talking about. But I know you all ain’t out there to watch a sunrise either and I’ve just got a feeling that in terms of trigger pulling, probably one of your highlights is going to be down there around Texas for reasons we’ve already talked about, pre show. When you show me some maps and stuff, I believe you all are going to have a, I think you’re going to have a grand finale down in Texas right now.

Mike Schumer: Yeah and I’m good with that. I mean, after 27 hours of driving, I want to shoot something. I think we’re going to do some different stuff.

Ramsey Russell: Work it normal man.

Mike Schumer: We’re going to chase some woodcock, I think, in Mississippi. And then my neighbor is, he’s traveled a little bit, he’s going out west and hunted big game. He’s gone down to the southwest and shot some doves. But he’s really got his eye on shooting a fox squirrel, which might not sound like a lot too much, but for some of us that haven’t had that opportunity, that’s kind of a cool experience. So that’s, I’m looking forward to, he’s a good friend, he’s right next door, we got paths between our property and we co manage deer habitat together and such. And it’s going to be cool to get him on something new like that. So, yeah, those are the things that make these trips, right? But, boy, I tell you, I like shooting ducks. So hopefully we get into.

Ramsey Russell: Don’t we all? What? Tell me a little bit about, remind us a little bit about the algorithm, the predictive model that you and Kaminski worked on.

Mike Schumer: Yeah. So that was a long time ago now, but man, it holds true. There’s a bunch of papers that have come out with following GPS ducks and the same kind of stuff comes up, like how cold is it and how much snow is on the ground? Those seem to be the 2 things that are really drivers of duck migration. It sounds really simple, everybody wants to throw all kinds of other complicated stuff in it. But at the broad landscape scale, whether you’ve got ducks at southern latitudes or not, seems to be about temperature and snow. So we first used Missouri’s data, Missouri Department of Conservation and then nearby weather stations linked those waterfowl survey data up and looked at whether duck numbers were increasing or decreasing through time and then what weather kind of happened in between. And what best explained duck migration was how cold was it on that day? How many days in a row had it been below freezing? That’s the type of thing that affects long term wetland, I think, how much snow was on the ground. That’s the direct effect on whether birds can field feed or not and then how many days in a row had there have been at least measurable an inch of snow on the ground? Because a mallard can hang out for a pretty long time on a river. But if you got 5 days in a row with measurable snow, that’s interfering with them finding corn kernels or other things, they’re going to boogie at some point. So it’s this common and what’s cool about it is they play off each other. Like, if it’s not too cold but if you get a ton of snow, they’re still going to kind of go because they’re having a hard time meeting those energy needs. But then if it just gets really cold and all the wetlands freeze up and they’re expending a lot of energy because it’s cold out, it doesn’t matter kind of how much corns in those fields in general, they’re going to move on if they don’t have open water, too. So those 2 play off each other and these GPS, these ducks were following with backpacks and stuff are kind of reacting to the same thing. So it’s held up and then we did that in Missouri and then when we got to Ontario, had a graduate student look at a full suite of ducks and also looked at mallards and black ducks. In Missouri, we kind of just looked at, like, mallards and then like, other dabbling ducks, the early migrating ducks. But the student in Ontario, at the University of Western Ontario that it was advising kind of looked at the large suite of them and then across a much broader area of the country from the Atlantic coast almost to the Central Flyway and kind of found the same thing. So this is the kind of thing you value, you do it once you get the model and then you validate it. And the mallard model was almost exactly what it was in Missouri, which was pretty cool, to find the same thing over and over. I got a student on Long Island right now that found that the decisions that mallards and black ducks make about whether they go field feed or feed in the salt marsh or feed in the freshwater marsh is greatly affected by how cold is it and how much snow is on the ground. It’s pretty simple, but it holds up. And you’ve heard this, Ramsey, like, over the years, like, oh, it’s just the snowline. It’s the snowline. I mean, it’s a little more complicated than that, but not a lot.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I had a great conversation with Mr. Terry Denman the other day up my home and we were waiting, buddy. We were waiting on duck and I said, Terry, how much of your duck hunting life do you spend waiting on ducks? Because as somebody that hunts a lot, far and wide, travels and hunts and shares a blind with a lot of people, Mike, 90% of the time, we’re waiting. We’re waiting on the next body and then it goes beyond that, we’re waiting on the duck migration, we’re waiting on this, we’re waiting on a cold event, we’re waiting on a snowfall. We’re waiting and waiting and waiting. And in years like the current season and I believe that 2023 will be remembered as the duck season that winter forgot. We’re really waiting and what I say become manifest among an entire continent of wading duck hunters is a frustration. And it starts spill over into a lot of chicken little disguise falling, you know what I’m saying and I think that you’re, what you just summed up that the drivers of cold and snow are really, in my humble opinion are really playing out this season.

Northern Hunters: Thriving in South Dakota Fields.

It’s the ultimate effect on whether you have ducks, all these folks, I mean, northern folks, I had a great season. I mean, I hear about people not getting ducks this year.

Mike Schumer: Yeah. It’s the ultimate effect on whether you have ducks, all these folks, I mean, northern folks, I had a great season. I mean, I hear about people not getting ducks this year. But that happens every year, there’s always some complainers out there that it just didn’t work out and they didn’t end up in the right spot or they didn’t do their homework or other things like that. I don’t, I’m not blaming them, really. It’s just that I’ve had bad seasons too, because it just happened to be where I picked on certain days didn’t work out. But we killed the heck out of ducks this year and we still have birds here. And I’m in central New York. I’m around the Finger Lakes region, Lake Ontario just north of me, Finger Lakes below me some, we’re in Swamp Country. And then, so northern folks, I mean, heck, I saw guys on social media the other day. We were chatting about this before we got on here, they’re killing, like, 6 man limits of just straight greenheads in fields in South Dakota – Oh, Merry Christmas, everybody, by the way. Near Christmas. It’s unheard of and yeah, there’s some frozen lakes in Wisconsin and in Minnesota and people are ice fishing. But our, I mean, in New York nowadays, our ice fishing, it comes in like, you got to wait till late January, February before we have good ice to walk on. And so the northern folks are still killing ducks. The mid latitude people, I mean, they’re getting there. So the people that seem to be really upset about this and complaining and it’s definitely justified, it’s frustrating, our folks at southern latitudes on years like this. But the thing that I’ve always seen, Ramsey, is that on years when it’s cold, I do this weather severity thing and I calculate out, I’ve got a spreadsheet right in front of me right now where we’re talking from Moosonee, Ontario, down to Tishomingo, Oklahoma and Des Moines, Illinois and Ottawa, Ontario and Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, where the heck else do I go here? Washington D.C. just up and down north of all those southern areas. So I keep my finger on the pulse of this in the years that and I know a lot of like Delta Waterfowl and DU folks in the waterfowl community. I work with them all, in the years when it’s just, it’s cold enough to get mallards there mostly and good numbers of ducks. You don’t hear a peep, you don’t hear anything. It’s like everything’s fine. And then –

Ramsey Russell: We’re too busy shooting ducks.

Mike Schumer: Exactly. And then you hit these years, like this year and all of a sudden it blows up. And I feel for the folks, like DU gets blamed for it. Like, oh, DU’s just holding all the ducks north. Like what’s the intent? What’s the point of that? I mean, Louisiana, Mississippi have more, they got more duck hunters than anywhere. Why would you abandon those people? That’s not a thing.

Ramsey Russell: There’s endless excuses of why we’re not getting ducks. Besides the obvious, Mike, there too many spinners, too many out of state hunters up in Canada. Let me tell you real briefly about my, where I’ve been the last month, Mississippi is in a horrific drought. We’ve got a little water, we got a few mud puddles at camp that some dedicated members of ours, I mean, pumped. I mean, it was a heroic effort to get water where we’ve got water, what little water we’ve got. Got lucky and drew the right hole and killed a few limbs of ducks with my kids. The second day of season, jumped in a truck, drove north, scratched Pennsylvania off my list. I go to Pennsylvania, up in your neck of the woods, they’re waiting on birds. They’ve been waiting on birds and got real lucky, I think 3 or 4 hunts and one of those hunts paid off. Old double R got a pair of mallards, scratch. I got my ducks in Pennsylvania and as I was leaving, the temperature dropped and it started to snow. And I was in a winter wonderland heading to Toronto, Canada. When I get up there, it’s about half a foot of snow. The geese are stale, but we kill them good and on day two, it’s mud because it warmed up, it was foggy, boom. It was muddy fields. I drive over to Minnesota, cold Minnesota. I mean, it was 120 that morning. Didn’t see a goose, the rib eye steak and the blind was good that morning. Drove to Wyoming and when I left Wyoming yesterday, it was 550 for the high, it’s been 650 the day before, there were ducks around. My outfitter has, whereas they’ve normally shot about 2000 geese this time of year, they’re just over 200, because the geese north, I talked to my buddy Yarnell up in Montana, they’re waiting on birds. Now, he’s found a few pockets of birds, but they’re waiting on birds. I call Rob Reynolds, whose geographic outfitting area is essentially from the boreal forest down to the US border. He has got a massive area of hunting areas and he was huffing and puffing, when I talked to him walking back to the truck. He had been hunting, I said, Robert, I’m assuming you all don’t have much snow cover. How’s the hunting going? He said, Ramsey, when you were here in late October and I was there, Mike, it was 110, bone chilling cold, 110. Mojo came in behind me the week after. It was about the same temperature and then it warmed. Last week it was 540 in Edmonton, Alberta, there’s not a fleck of snow on the prairies and this is what shocked me. I understand mallards not leaving because mallards, Canada geese, a lot of those birds will hold over in Alberta all winter long. But when Rob Reynolds told me that they were shooting snow goose limits on December 18, I’m like, do what? That my mind exploded, wait a minute. Those birds should have been gone south 6 weeks ago.

Mike Schumer: Yep. Texas is losing their mind right now. I mean, there’s barely a, from what I’ve heard, barely a snow goose in Texas at this point, where and they should be there.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. I mean, so my point being is, I’m in touch with a lot of duck hunters and outfitters nationwide and there are isolated pockets in the Mississippi Flyway that there are ducks. And when the weather conditions prevail, wind, cloudy, whatever, they can go out and collect their limits. But far and wide, everybody from, like I said previously, from California, North Carolina is kind of sort of waiting on birds to move and they’re not, they’re and so here we are, a bunch of duck hunters, man. We’ve bought a bunch of gear, we’ve trained a bunch of dogs, we’ve burned a bunch of gas, we’ve got leases, we’ve got clubs, we’ve got, this is our time of year, man. Santa Claus is coming. Where’s the ducks? And it’s like, now in the back of my mind, I don’t understand the rocket science of duck populations and I’m sitting there saying, well, if we really have all these ducks, shouldn’t they be somewhere? Because they’re not in Arkansas. Arkansas just reported their December midwinter waterfowl count was the all time lowest count ever. Not just a low matter, but low ducks, period. So Mike, where the hell are the ducks?

Mike Schumer: So it’s no different. Mississippi, just, they’re what? Mississippi’s 75% down right now from normal. Houston Haven sends that stuff out. I worked with Houston a little bit down there and that’s the thing. And if you look at Missouri, I mean, there are some places like Grand Pass that have at times had 250,000 mallards. But when we got on here, I just showed you a map of the snow and this. There it is snowless. I have snow here just couple skim into it.

Ramsey Russell: Pull that map back up, let’s take a look at it. 2023, let’s look at it right now.

Mike Schumer: If I can pull it up.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, I got faith in you. You guys are smart, like it?

Mike Schumer: Oh, I’m sharing my screen right now, am I not? Do you see it? I’m giving away all my secrets here.

Ramsey Russell: We’re looking at the stream flow conditions right now. Okay, we’ll talk about that in a minute, too.

Mike Schumer: Let me see if it gets on here.

Ramsey Russell: There you go.

Mike Schumer: Yeah, sorry.

Ramsey Russell: That top tab right there.

Mike Schumer: That one?

Ramsey Russell: I think so.

Mike Schumer: So that’s, if that is that show up.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Mike Schumer: 2022.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Mike Schumer: So that snow last year on this date.

Ramsey Russell: Blow it up a little bit bigger.

Mike Schumer: I can’t. It’s how it comes through on this app. There’s nothing I can do about it.

Ramsey Russell: Okay, well, let’s talk about 2022 first, because that there’s some major snow accumulation. I mean, this time last year, there was a foot and a half of snow in southeast Wyoming, it was 00 on Christmas Eve, in Mississippi, 00. And if you had open water or could make open water, you were probably killing ducks like the 1980s mallards. It was unbelievable.

Mike Schumer: Yep. I mean, drought and warm right now are the things that are killing most everybody, I would say, it’s just these birds are, man. You’re going to ask this, I think you already have is, where are they? The answer is they’re everywhere.

Ramsey Russell: Everywhere.

Mike Schumer: They’re everywhere they can be and I think you mentioned midwinter survey for Arkansas, but that midwinter survey, it’s not meant, is like a metric of what is the population of mallards on the continent. Comparing that to like, the breeding populations, apples and oranges or any other estimators we use of the mallard population, every town park, every little river, every little spot. Think about, I’m going to drive across the country and I guarantee you as I cross the country, I’m going to find all those little dugouts where there’s overpasses on interstates, there’s going to be mallards on every single one of them, every one of them and those birds, they’re just such an adaptable bird, they’re going to be everywhere. These types of conditions right here that you’re looking at, that’s jamming birds up in Grand Pass, Missouri and moving them further down to the Cache River and areas like that. This year, I mean, Great Lake’s ice right now, there’s usually not a lot of it at this point, like major ice, if that happens later in the season. But the bays aren’t frozen. We should be getting into good numbers of redheads, canvasbacks and scalp on the Finger Lakes because that when they freeze out of the upper miss, when they freeze out of Lake St. Clair, they freeze out of Lake Erie. We get them and they don’t even get to Chesapeake Bay anymore because they don’t ever have to go there. But we’re not even going to see those birds this year. So like, we are in the same situation, our late season diver hunters are super frustrated. They want the season to go all the way to the end of January so that those birds might show up this year. And I think we’ll get into this as a super, sorry, strong El Nino year. It never turned into a super El Nino year. We’re probably, I don’t think within the month of January we would ever see that migration of diving ducks into us even.

Ramsey Russell: I know this because I was up there hunting them, there were 3 mile rafts of divers, redheads, blue bills, canvasbacks on the Mississippi river way up north after Thanksgiving, way up. I mean, massive concentrations of them. But when you get inland in Illinois, a lot of those boys that had gangbuster mallards last year had none. They were making do with wood ducks and teal and they spent a lot of time and money managing their properties for ducks, for mallards specifically and there were none. And they just got an email from communications, I mean, text messages the other day, their season just went out up in northern Illinois. In the last 4 or 5 days, they got a push of mallards and it was, their entire duck season boiled down to about 3 or 4 or 5 days of duck hunting and it was good. But it’s over. Mike, you brought up a good point just a minute ago, talking about the mid winter waterfowl counts as it relates to BPOP. What are we really, can you make sense of all of these counts? The Maypon counts, the BPOP counts, the mid winter waterfowl counts, how they relate to the model and what it matters. I mean, because I think there may be some confusion. I know I’m confused sometimes when I think about what does this number really mean?

Mike Schumer: So I will carry out this with and I’m really good at weather. And Mike Brazier with DU is, like, basically compared me to a climatologist, which I am not. A climatologist is a whole other level. But I’ve studied it a lot and I’ve really worked with numbers and work with weather data and spend a lot of time in the blind to, like, really understand how ducks move. I am not a population, a waterfowl population biologist, so we need to be careful about what I’m stepping into. So I want to stay inside my rails in general. But the, in general, the comment there is that all the different surveys you talked about, largely they serve their purposes, but for the most part, they are apples and oranges. So you just can’t take one and then say, well, midwinter survey doesn’t show as many ducks as the breeding population survey, so there must not be that many ducks. Like, that’s just complete apples and oranges and they serve different purposes, they have different methodologies and it’s just not fair to put them into the same conversation for the most part.

Ramsey Russell: No, I used to fly midwinter waterfowl counts 20 years ago with the government, and go up in the air, look at the properties estimate the ducks, estimate by species, drum up the spreadsheet, turn it in and the numbers really didn’t matter. It was the percent change, it was a relative change. And as I understood it, all things equal. Assume this, your weather model, the snow cover, the temperature gradient, all things equal more, meant there were more ducks. I had better habitat, less mint change. But there’s not an all, it’s a very dynamic system. Like you say, it always goes back to the driving forces, cold and snow, where the birds could be anywhere. And just because I’ve got half as many birds in an all time record low, I’m thinking not so much that there aren’t any ducks in the world as much as those ducks are north of me somewhere. And in this year, from what best I can tell, when a group of men are still shooting snow goose limits in southern Alberta and there’s not any snow cover at all. And it’s 540 in Edmonton, Alberta. I got a pretty good idea where my birds are and they ain’t going to be down here in Mississippi, they’re going to be north, am I right?

Deep South Seasons: Opening Day Success and Challenges.

The birds that are there, they tagged them and looked at what they did and they just avoid pressure completely. So the birds you’re killing are new birds showing up.

Mike Schumer: This is one of the easiest years I’ve had with these types of predictions and we put out a seasonal, we’ll get into the podcast thing in a bit that we’re doing now with this, but we put out a seasonal forecast in October and then we do an updated one at the beginning of November. That’s like a long term seasonal forecast and the thing with an El Nino is that we know, I mean, it was, there was not a climate long term, whatever they seasonal climatologists that kind of predict winter weather coming up. That was like, oh, it’s going to be cold. Like, that was not a thing. We all knew this was coming and if people are surprised that they don’t have ducks and that it’s been warm up north. I mean, it’s been a thing. I mean, we’ve been reporting it all along and it just hasn’t changed and there have been what are called a few stretched polar events that have come in. Those happened in October, it did. There was a good cold shot early and it moved birds and then there was like a little one. But we’ve had 3 straight stale weeks, we’ve had 3 straight stale weeks in the prime time when all of the deep south seasons opened. So they had, I almost guarantee people shot ducks, an opener. Most places had birds, but they’re just not going to take pressure because you got nothing new showing up. There’s some brand new research out of some colleagues of mine with radio telemetry stuff that basically shows that the birds that are there when you, this is kind of my take on it. The birds that are there, they tagged them and looked at what they did and they just avoid pressure completely. So the birds you’re killing are new birds showing up. And if you don’t have weather events to make birds show up, you don’t kill them because they’re, Ramsey, no duck wants to get shot.

Ramsey Russell: I don’t blame him.

Mike Schumer: It sounds like this, like really dumb comment, but if you think about it, it makes sense. No duck wants to get shot. So the ducks that get shot are the ones that don’t know where they’re at yet, the new migrants. And we just have, for 3 weeks, we have had nothing as far as any major cold snow event for 3 weeks. So I can understand people’s frustration, but it just ain’t cold enough to do it. It ain’t cold enough to make those birds move again. The ones that are still up north.

Ramsey Russell: Let’s talk about, I’ve still got a lot of questions for you, but let’s take this one next. Cold and snow are drivers, but they’re not the end all, be all. And I’m assuming when we say cold and snow as drivers, you and I are thinking big divers and especially mallards. Is that a fair assessment? Primarily what we’re talking about, because we’ve got a bunch of little ducks, too. We’ve got gadwalls, we’ve got shovelers, we’ve got pintails, we’ve got some teal that are going to push down on a calendar. And apparently –

Mike Schumer: We’ve tested that, Ramsey. We ran photoperiod, like day length and then we ran weather models and how cold it was. So it’s mostly consecutive days that the average temperature is cold enough. Those birds, they’re just wimpy. So it’s not that photoperiod doesn’t play a role because think about this, this is just, wrap our heads around this for a second. As we get shorter days, we also get colder days. So it’s kind of hard to disentangle what’s driving.

Ramsey Russell: Right.

Mike Schumer: But when we just run photoperiod, how long, how many minutes a day, is it light out against the weather severity index stuff? The weather severity index wins, which means that at least in addition to how long the days are, the weather still matters. That’s probably why we’re still seeing blue winged teal increasingly staying on the Gulf Coast when we used to not see them as much. I think a lot of people are starting to see that the blue winged teal is actually the most photoperiod migrator. It’s the only dabbling duck we have that the photoperiod metric works better than the weather metric for predicting migration.

Ramsey Russell: When you explain it like you just did, regards, non blue winged teal divers, it really photoperiod or daylight length and temperatures really do kind of go hand in hand. I mean, that makes perfect sense. What about the mallards? Because having had talk to folks like Doug Osborne and various landowners and stuff down in, over in Arkansas let’s say, you’ve got a subset of mallards that fly down in late October maybe, mid to late October and show up to their hunts. They go to this patch of woods. They’ve got a fidelity for this area and they’re there. Those are a lot of the birds in a warm year like this that in the first Arkansas split, that’s what you’re shooting. Are those old subset of mallard that are just coming, it seems like regardless of weather, have you all ever, has anybody ever looked at those 2, quote, populations of mallards, mallards that are going to come down with the cold and the snow versus mallards that are just freaking coming down?

Mike Schumer: Yeah, I love this topic. I actually dug into it a bunch. There’s people working on it a bit now. The Halloween mallards, they were always there in kind of the hills of Mississippi and then they weren’t, and they’re just gone like those early mallards just do not show up in Hill country around Mississippi state, really, anymore, to any degree. They do in the big woods of Arkansas still and I have a hypothesis on this. It goes back to, I mean, I work a lot with Phil Lavretsky and that genetic stuff and I’m going to try not to get off topic too much, but it’s still on topic about migration. Those mallards that are coming to the big woods, Arkansas, are still pure, 100% pure wild north American mallards. Those ones that come to the big woods or sorry, the Hill country of Mississippi, are more like Great Lakes birds. And we just published a paper with folks from Winous Point Marsh Conservancy and Phil himself. And it’s like, I think only 60% of those birds in northwestern Ohio now are pure mallards.

Ramsey Russell: Wow.

Mike Schumer: And you got to think about, so what’s going on if people aren’t aware of what’s going on, we’ve released a lot of these game farm mallards of European descent for quite a while, over 100 years now. And we really ramped it with adult birds and we continue to do that. And if those birds breed with wild birds and some of that genetic material gets in there and those birds aren’t predisposed to go to their ancestral wintering areas, they have no connection to anything on this continent. They’re just going to do kind of a random walk and wander around. And that’s what we see, those birds out of northwestern Ohio, they, like, filter down to, like, the Ohio river valley and then they hit some Kentucky ponds and they might get to Tennessee, but they ain’t making Hill country Mississippi. They just don’t, on that first cold front, they just don’t boogie for that ancestral wintering ground. But the birds in Arkansas still do. I think some of those, there used to be a traditional migration of mallards from the Great Lakes region to South Carolina. And those South Carolina folks are squealing about how bad the mallard migration is. And I’m, but they’re also releasing a ton of mallards and they might be just exacerbating that problem. I mean, we’re working on this. We’re working as fast as we can to understand and if this is a real smoking gun, because we need to get this thing right if it is. But yeah, that’s a long kind of convoluted explanation or thought process on this. But there’s some stuff going on with mallards that’s just beyond the weather stuff for sure.

Ramsey Russell: Lavretsky’s been on here several times. We gotten way down in that rabbit hole of game farm mallards, Old World versus New World genetics. And it’s just undoubtedly wreaking some form of havoc or becoming manifest throughout the flyway. I’m trying to think of his, I know I’m going to butcher his last name, but he got done some brilliant research on the Great Lakes mallards, Ben Lukenen, Blimp Lynn.

Mike Schumer: Ben Lukenen.

Ramsey Russell: Lukenen.

Mike Schumer: Ben Lukenen and bright kid.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, yeah, rocket scientist. And some of the stuff he’s talking about, those are birds now, those are birds that could be coming down to our part of the world, but they’re not. And it was mind blowing, the percent of mallards in the Great Lakes that are overwintering there now. And I said, well, how come your local hunters aren’t killing more mallards? He says, because the game farm mallards prefer residential settings where they can sit on the ponds and get out and do themselves in the backyards and parks and stuff like that. And they don’t, they have no genetic cue to migrate. None at all.

January Hunts: Cold Weather and Abundant Mallards.

I tell you, when our seasons here in New York and we’ve moved them back, we’ve moved and much to some folks are upset about it, but our mallards used to migrate through here.

Mike Schumer: Yeah, I tell you, when our seasons here in New York and we’ve moved them back, we’ve moved and much to some folks are upset about it, but our mallards used to migrate through here. If you go back to like 1911, Elon Eaton wrote the birds in New York and our mallard, we didn’t have a lot of mallards, but they were coming through here in early November. And nowadays they’re coming through in early December. And most hunters said they want to hunt when most of the mallards are here. So our season moved more into December. It used to run further into January, but I tell you, you could stand up in a boat with a rig of canvasback decoys and eat a sandwich and shoot a limit of mallards on those really cold, those cold January days. What happened? All the park ducks get froze out and they show up on these big lakes and they are dumb as a stick.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, I love a dumb duck.

Mike Schumer: And you can pound them. But that eastern mallard population also, at least the northeast US, there’s some discussion on that, but they’ve declined by 40%. The Canadian mallards seem to be what are carrying us now because I think they’re more wild. I don’t want to go too deep down this rabbit hole because you, what you should do is get, Phil and I on here and you want to see a deep rabbit hole related to mallard discussion.

Ramsey Russell: Count on it. We’ll do that next time. Can you bring back up one of your screenshots? The one you started with is the stream flow right now. That’s the next topic I want to talk about.

Mike Schumer: Yeah. Let me see if I can get this to share properly for you. Can I stop sharing? Are you seeing this whole? What? Are you seeing the same thing still now?

Ramsey Russell: Yep, same thing.

Mike Schumer: I think.

Ramsey Russell: Got to push one of those tabs up top. That right there. The one to the right of the one you’re on, I think should pull up.

Mike Schumer: Yeah, it’s behind a screen right now. So I’m trying to figure it out.

Ramsey Russell: There it is, that’s what I want to see. That daily stream flow conditions USGS current water data for the nation. Now we talk, we touched briefly on drought and I know that the drivers are cold and snow, but we’ve got. That’s not the only thing affecting what we duck hunters are perceiving as seeing when we’re sitting out there on a light shooting day asking ourselves where the hell are the ducks? That boy, that right there when I’m looking up the Mississippi Flyway, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, parts of Tennessee and on up to the great confluence, if I’m squinting hard enough to see it, I mean, we’re looking at severe drought conditions. I know, talking to one of my buddies today, Ryan Graves, where they like to hunt on the river at 7 foot and they think of 21ft as being low water. But the stage they’re reading right now is 7ft and it’s extremely low. And if you look, so here’s what I’m going to ask right now. Drought, we’re dry as a popcorn fart in the state of Mississippi. I mean everybody’s drought.

Mike Schumer: Yes, sir.

Ramsey Russell: And one of my buddies hunt some breaks and he’s killing ducks but he’s working like a Hebrew slave to get to them. They’re so far back in the break that it’s taking a monumental effort with a canoe and a push pole, whatever else he can use to get back there. The ducks know where there ain’t no hump pressure and he’s getting back there and getting on them. But for most of us a lot of the landscape is just bone dry. Now, that means that what ducks we have are highly concentrate more highly distilled on a very small landscape that we’re all hunting, which means they’re being pressured. So now we’ve got, we can rest the laurels on the drivers of migration, cold and snow. But the ducks that did show up are encountering drought, severe drought and increased hunting pressure, which is going to make them doubly or triply tough to get into. Am I right?

Mike Schumer: Stale as can be.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, I hate a stale duck.

Mike Schumer: They’re going to wait this stuff out. I mean, if you think about, boy, do we, Oh, my goodness, I will – I don’t like to sit all day to shoot a duck. But if I can find that period when our mallards are going out and hitting cornfields and then they’re coming back into these big cattail marshes to roost and I can go in and kill a limit of greenheads at 4 and then pick up a black duck, it’s rare. I come out with 6. But my goodness, that yellow fat on those birds is amazing. And they use that to get down south. And I tell you, once they’re at their terminal areas and it’s this warm, they don’t have to feed that much. So it takes that much less pressure. That’s a local thing that’s going on, too. Ducks actually lose weight at their southern area because they know where their food is on a daily basis. They don’t have to store it. They’re not going any further south. So all they have to do is eat enough and sit still. And the warmer it is, the more they can sit still. So those types of things are probably affecting this as well. But I’m a little worried, looking at all that drought. So you can have bad conditions on wintering areas that when birds start to migrate north, they can make up for and they can put that fat on and then they can get to the breeding areas and be okay or vice versa. If they’re really fat leaving the wintering areas, they can have not so good conditions during spring. But breeding areas are okay. So peak populations are generally when all those things line up and all the habitat, it’s great. And they got all these places they can go and find all this food and they’re in good shape. All kinds of wetland food, leftover waste grain, things like that. But this year, if you look at this, they’ve got 2 whammies right now. And that’s the southern drought and the mid continent drought. And then, goodness, the prairies have not really recovered from, I mean, they were a little wetter last year and we had a really good brood year, a really good nesting year in general. So just tons of broods around in some places. And so we got a decent flight. But the thing that’s going to save us is this. It’s coming. I guarantee it’s coming. And you started to see it. You’re going to see some stuff Sunday night, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina. There’s a good rain system coming through. And you already saw that one come up, the Atlantic coast. If you look at all that blue stuff and green stuff, that’s good water. That was not there a week ago, this did not look like this a week ago. So an El Nino winter is typically very dry and warm at northern latitudes in the Mississippi and Atlantic Flyway. And it’s wet and colder than normal. That doesn’t mean it’s really cold, you guys don’t get that cold, but it’s colder than normal, so you should get this rain. But what my prediction was how late we went into El Nino, we probably weren’t really going to get heavy into it until January. But if we start to get rain on this stuff and I know it’s not good for duck hunters, but, man, if this happens, like late January, February, early March, the ducks, we’ve grown a lot of weeds. We’ve got a lot of weedy spots out there. We’ve been dry and those are all duck foods and I think that if we can get some rain behind this, we’ll at least send ducks back strong because this is 2 things. We want to shoot ducks, but we also want to stand ducks back strong. And I think we might end up with a very good situation where we get kind of a later wet, that it’s already started a little bit, I think it’s going to manifest through January.

Ramsey Russell: If we don’t get the cold and the snow and we get a lot of water. All this flyway, I’m looking at it being red, extremely drought prone right now. Yeah, it’ll be some great habitat for the ducks, but what few ducks we have in the deep south are going to be spread so thin, they might as well not be here. You know what I’m saying? We’ve got to have those drivers to push ducks down. Yeah, the habitat will be good for what few ducks are here. But we’ve got some climatic –

Mike Schumer: Yeah, I totally agree.

Ramsey Russell: Mike, let me ask you a question. When we talk about the cold and the snow, what kind of cold and how much snow are we talking about? What pushes ducks?

Mike Schumer: So, usually when you’re right around an average temperature for the day of freezing, that’s typically your peak mallard numbers. They build until you’re around an average temperature of around zero. And then –

Ramsey Russell: 0 Celsius.

Mike Schumer: Yes. Freezing.

Ramsey Russell: 320 Fahrenheit. Okay.

Mike Schumer: Good call, I apologize for that. Scientists, we’re universally, across the world, we work in Celsius. So freezing temperatures and then if you go 4 or 5 days with just below freezing temperatures where your ponds start to freeze up and things like that, you’ll see a movement of birds. If you get a day with a foot of snow and teens, they’re going as well. So it’s not like a one size fits all. It’s like a variable types of things that, cause what we’re looking at that really affect duck migration, because what we’re looking at is how much energy can that duck take in and how much is it expending? And when that gets to too negative of a balance, they’re like, screw this, I’m out. But they will, mallards more so than other ducks will stick that out. And I’m not saying. So the thing is that there’s a lot of variation around this because there’s lots of different. Just like different people, there’s different ducks. Like this year, when that cold front, first cold front came through the Dakotas and down South Dakota and Iowa, mallards moved on that. There were mallards that went on that. But there were mallards that stayed. And if they stayed, then they had conditions that they could wait out. Do I know why individual mallards move and some don’t know? I don’t think most of us know what that variation is in the brain of a duck or the condition of a duck for the most part. But there is that variation.

Ramsey Russell: But if I were looking at a map of the United States, if I want to know where the biggest concentration of moving ducks, vacating ducks is or where the ducks are, I would stick to about a 300 to 400 thermocline. That line there, is that what I’m looking at or would it be 500 degrees?

Mike Schumer: It’s not that easy.

Ramsey Russell: Okay.

Mike Schumer: That’s really the point and I’m going to plug it here, and I know we were going to get to it and I apologize if I’m doing it too early, but that’s why that we came up with the fall weather podcast because we do these mathematical models on a weekly basis. I look at a few other things like wind direction and moon phase, which I think has some effect that’s anecdotal on my part, that throws some extra help in there. But it’s not as easy as like looking at a thermal client. I mean, I’m calculating, I’m spending about 2 hours a week calculating this stuff out to give people a forecast for the coming week from everywhere east of the Rockies, basically. And I hate to say it that way, but it’s, I’ve been doing this for enough years to and people are like, oh, it’s just the snowline. It’s not even close, because if it snows a whole hell of a lot, but it’s really warm. And then that snow melts and it creates flood conditions. Ducks actually stay further north. So the snow line in and of itself has nothing to do with it. It’s actually a combination of temperature in snow and how those work together in unison to create a situation that really makes, it’s about making this duck move, because the only place that duck is going after the end of winter is back north. And why would a duck migrate across Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana and subject itself to all those opening days when it could just sit in Iowa? So they’re programmed to survive.

US Hunt List: Top Picks for a Banner Hunting Year.

Our US hunt list outfitters right now that are in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are beating the brakes off ducks.

Ramsey Russell: Our US hunt list outfitters right now that are in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are beating the brakes off ducks. They’re not sitting around asking themselves, the client show up on asking themselves, where the hell are the ducks? One of my outfitters is having a record year. I had a client called the other day from on the east coast saying, hey, we’re getting kicked in the teeth. I’m ready to go pull the trigger a little bit on some off time. Who do you recommend? And I said, go to US hunt list and look in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, because those guys are having a banner year. Now, the record year outfitter biggers has killed a bunch of ducks. One mallard, because they’re not in mallard country in his part of the world. But they’re shooting pintails and gadwalls and teal and some ringnecks and some different little ducks like that there. But they’re having an incredible season and when I look at the USGS current water data nation for the nation, boom, I see why it’s green. It looks good there. It’s a great little belt through that Central Flyway of water and streamflow. They’ve got, that’s why they’ve got the ducks. That’s why I think, Mike, when you all get down to the Texas Gulf Coast, that’s going to be a great finale to your road trip.

Mike Schumer: I’m going to give this away, too. Is that end of next – I just did all my calculations for the week we’re going into Christmas. I’m trying to actually spend some time with family on Christmas Eve instead of running a podcast. I still got to figure out my trip. I mean, I got the portable thing, but we might do an abbreviated version of it. But I ran all this stuff and end of next week looks pretty sweet for a lot of folks. Boy, Mississippi’s looking like either 3 quarters of an inch or an inch of rain is not going to help a ton, but it’s something. And there’s cold coming, there’s a lot of cold coming out of Wyoming and Colorado, through Oklahoma and towards Texas. So my thought, like, we’ve had a 3 week stale period late next week for most everybody in Mississippi and Central Flyway should be something we haven’t seen. I mean, deep south folks that they haven’t even seen during season, there should be some movement of birds. But given that it’s so dry, it’s hard to say because it’s, you might get like a little shooting, but those birds will redistribute east to west pretty quick when they don’t find the right conditions as well. People always think when ducks run out of food and it hasn’t frozen, they’re just going to go south. Well, most of the time they go up rivers. So if you look at where Oklahoma and Texas are like, all, well, heck, the Red river, separates the Texas-Oklahoma border. So I think I’m correct on that. Hopefully, I don’t get my geography wrong, but there’s a lot of rivers coming out of, like, Missouri and Arkansas there. So when those birds don’t find food, they’re typically going up rivers to find habitat. And that’s probably where those, not all those birds are probably just coming from the north. They’re probably coming from the east, getting out of the dry belt.

Ramsey Russell: Michael, I’m going to end up, before we wrap up on how to contact you and how to plug into it, I got one more question. What do you mean when you say, because I’ve heard you say it several times, last podcast on the phone yesterday, guns drive duck numbers.

Mike Schumer: We’re going to end on this one, right? Oh, no. Ducks run guns.

Ramsey Russell: Ducks run guns.

Mike Schumer: Guns don’t run ducks. Hey, the sky is not falling. I’ve spent way too much time in the Atlantic Flyway with very conservative biologists. I like them all. I don’t want to crap on anybody. They’re doing their job, they’re working hard, but boy, do they pull the trigger towards being conservative and reducing seasons. And I don’t think they think about the numbers of hunters and the long term repercussions of just overly restrictive stuff. I’m a little afraid of folks saying, well, where are all the ducks? There must not be ducks. We shouldn’t shoot ducks. And I’m like, man, ducks are like bunnies, they just reproduce. And there’s a lot of other information out there, but, man, let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot. Like, why in an age where we have abundant water on the prairies, yeah, there’s habitat issues, but, like, we’re not in the 80s or the dust bowl. I mean, we’ve had good water since the mid 90s and the reason we’ve got liberal seasons is because we’re just full of water. I mean, my favorite saying in the world is instant ducks just add water. When it’s wet on the prairies, there’s duck, look at what’s happened recently, we’ve got a decline in mallards who really thrive on these, like, shallow wetlands and things that have disappeared. We got a little drier in the prairies and we’re seeing it, but we’re not in the dumpster with ducks. Not in the least, these big wetlands gadwall love were fricking loaded with gadwall. Let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot and pretend like there aren’t ducks. I mean, Arkansas is still shooting. Okay, I think I looked this up today, if I’m wrong, somebody can tell me. But I think Arkansas shoots more ducks than the Atlantic Flyway does. Louisiana shoot more ducks than the country of Canada, Louisiana shoots more ducks annually than the country of Canada. We’re not lacking in ducks. We have to quit acting like shooting ducks is the real problem. We have such safety nets around all this stuff that we really have to think about, access, opportunity, make sure we take care of our culture of duck hunters and realize that the sky is not falling. We are far from that.

Ramsey Russell: You bring up a good point, Mike. When you talk about these kinds of years, frustrated hunters wondering where the hell the ducks are, start saying, we need to change something and it’s always regulatory. We need to regulate. We need to modify numbers, scale back. And I’m sitting there thinking to myself, wait a minute, wait a minute, it didn’t work with the pintails. We restricted the bag limit on pintails for the last 30 years. Where the heck are the pintails? It has nothing whatsoever to do with harvest – If any biologist I’ve talked to, every biologist I’ve had on this podcast indicate just the same thing you said, that we’ve got a safety net, we’ve got a good model, we’ve got great science going into this thing. We’ve got that buffer building on it and regulated harvest does not impact continental populations. Ducks die. Ducks die from guns. Ducks reproduce, add water we have more ducks. But for those that believe that, because we don’t have ducks, in the absence of cold and snow, that are saying, let’s go to restrictive season. Wait a minute. We’ve been restrictive on pintails for 30 years and I heard a conversation recently and now wait a minute, dead ducks don’t lay eggs, I get it. The more hen mallards we send up north, likely the more eggs we’re going to get. But on the flip side of it, I want to asked myself, well, why is the mallard duck, which is the most predominant species bagged in North America? It’s a very abundant species. Why is it the only dabbler diver in North America that we even have a hen regulation on? I mean, there’s a lot fewer scaup, we can shoot the heck of shit all the hens we want to, there’s a lot fewer ringnecks. We shoot all the hell ringnecks we want to. There’s a lot fewer wood ducks and green wings, we shoot all the hens we want to. Pintails, which are in peril because of habitat, shoot the hands if you want to, because it’s legal. Oh, boy, but we’re going to curtail the harvest of hen mallards. Now, I will say this, greenheads make a prettier picture. When the ducks come in, we’re all looking for those green heads. But Mike, I mean, what I’m saying is I’m just re echoing what you say and asking again, say it. We don’t really need harvest regulations, do we?

Mike Schumer: It’s not that and I’ll leave a hole in this for people to attack because that’s the fun part of it, right? It’s not that harvest doesn’t. It’s in no way is it ever, like an ultimate comment. There are definitely times when we are reducing the population of birds that are going back to breed the next season. But here’s the thing, the one thing that we have always wanted to work into all of this decision making is this kind of human dimensions component, what’s the feedback loop? What’s the quality of hunting? How are we retaining hunters who are paying for all this work and advocating for it through nonprofit, through voting, through talking with the representatives and all that stuff. And a perfect example of this was the Atlantic Flyway tech section at a meeting and they did a survey and they asked people, like, well, when we went from 4 to 2 mallards, did you stop duck hunting? And 14% of people. It’s around 14% of people said they would stop duck hunting and then if it went to one mallard, it was like 45%. But there was no sneeze at losing 14% of hunters. Right, like, the comment, it just kind of glazed over it, like, as well, we went from 4 to 2 mallard on that restriction for that time period. 14% of hunters. You lose 14% of your hunters in one regulatory decision that matters. So the thing that we keep forgetting about is that there is a level of satisfaction that needs to be met. And, boy, the ducks might not always show up because it didn’t get cold that year, but, boy, when they do, don’t you want to be able to have that hunter base out there, that culture still out there and sustain that? Like, why are we shooting our – I think we’re shooting ourselves in the foot by asking, why are we asking for regulations when, and things that might diminish the experience and the numbers of hunters out there when we already have too few hunters in general, like, 6% of people in this country hunt. And antis aren’t that big of a group. But there’s a ton of apathy out there and what I’m hearing in this discussion is a lot of infighting around the conservation table. And we all – I don’t want to do the Kumbaya thing, but we do all need to get along a little bit better and work towards a common goal, and it’s sustaining ducks, sustaining wetlands and sustaining our waterfowl hunting culture. And taking away opportunity and access is probably not the way to do it.

Ramsey Russell: Thank you, Mike. That’s an excellent summary. Tell me about your FowlWeather podcast. Tell us about your FowlWeather podcast and what we can expect.

Mike Schumer: What I appreciate is, after being a guest of yours and Braziers and then doing my own podcast, is actually how much work this is. So, I want to thank you, first of all, for all that you do and all your travels and discussions you have with everyone, because when I picked it up, we did a YouTube channel. Well, we did these migration forecasts when I was in Mississippi state. We did a YouTube channel for a while and then I got a team of folks together that we got a web page. We’re on Spotify. We’re on Apple podcasts. It’s called the FowlWeather podcast. And we use these mathematical models, we are the only duck migration forecast that’s out there right the way that we say it is, everybody else just reports on ducks. And when you report on ducks, where they were yesterday or possibly weeks ago. What were actually doing is forecasting what the weather is going to be like and use that weather severity index to determine what are the best days to hunt from everywhere, basically east of the Rockies is what were covering. And we try to give, like I talked about late next week is going to be on fire in some spots in the central, in the Mississippi Flyway as much as it’s been in 3 weeks. So in people’s busy schedules nowadays, this gives you the opportunity and flexibility, like post COVID and all that jazz. A lot of us work from home and things. So I can work, I know I work 8 hours on the weekend, I get up 04:00 or 05:00 in the morning like I would to hunt. But instead, I work because I don’t want to compete with all the Saturday, Sunday guys. But I might be able to go on Thursday. So we try to provide folks with kind of the best days to go to to maximize and maybe spread out some of the pressure a little bit too. We do some entertaining comment as well, I covered the Ducks Run Guns, guns don’t run ducks. I’ve covered why folks should be members of Delta Waterfowl, great organization, why they should be members of ducks and a bunch of other cool content. I mean, random stuff like I did, I shot a deer in the ass by mistake with a bow this year and it died in 15 seconds. So I mean, I’m not just a duck hunter, I’m a farm kid and I spend a lot of time kicking around, doing fun things. And so we try to sprinkle that stuff in there, but a lot of it is like the content we just covered. In fact, I just wrote a lot of the content for the podcast for Monday morning – We set them up on Sunday. We put them out every Monday morning from October to January. So everybody across all the flyways from north to south has a migration forecast each week. But I did a bunch of content actually in prep for this discussion with you. So there’s going to be some crossover there for sure on what I covered, but yeah, it’s been fun and really getting fantastic feedback from everybody and looking forward to kind of growing it out and focusing on a lot of the weather effects that influence duck migration. But there’s a lot of duck biology. There’s going to be some wetland management for waterfowl stuff in there, too, in the spring. So it’s been a fun adventure.

Ramsey Russell: It airs on Mondays. What’s the typical – It’s always a short. You were telling me, it’s a short.

Mike Schumer: I run 15 to, it’s getting more towards 30 with content now, but we’re thinking about mixing it up next year by just doing the migration forecast on Monday so people could listen to it quick and think about which days they should hunt and then do like a midweek update about the weather.

Ramsey Russell: Right.

Mike Schumer: And then do the more entertaining comment on Wednesday. But for this year, we’re going to stick with the Monday morning. If you’re a night owl, it’s available at midnight on Sundays.

Ramsey Russell: Good. Fantastic. Well, I now follow you, I’ll tell you that and you’ve got a lot of great topics on here that I think everybody listening will enjoy. Mike, I certainly enjoy you shedding some light on where the heck of ducks are. I mean, I’m as frustrated as everybody else, but I’m just not ready to throw the baby out with the bath water yet over a dang duck. I hunt a lot. I spend a lot of time waiting on ducks to show up and ducks to fly. It’s just, it’s what I signed up for. I get it, you know what I’m saying? And you’ve really made a lot of sense, folks, thank you all for listening to this episode of MOJO’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast. The sky’s not falling. Go and pull up on your phone right now. Go pull up a map of snow cover and weather in the United States. Go plug in to FowlWeather podcast. And every Monday, you’ll get an idea of what your upcoming week’s going to look like on duck movement. Thank you all for listening to episode of MOJO’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast, we’ll see you next time.

[End of Audio]

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HuntProof, the premier mobile waterfowl app, is an absolute game changer. Quickly and easily attribute each hunt or scouting report to include automatic weather and pinpoint mapping; summarize waterfowl harvest by season, goose and duck species; share with friends within your network; type a hunt narrative and add photos. Migrational predictor algorithms estimate bird activity and, based on past hunt data will use weather conditions and hunt history to even suggest which blind will likely be most productive!

Inukshuk Professional Dog Food Our beloved retrievers are high-performing athletes that live to recover downed birds regardless of conditions. That’s why Char Dawg is powered by Inukshuk. With up to 720 kcals/ cup, Inukshuk Professional Dog Food is the highest-energy, highest-quality dog food available. Highly digestible, calorie-dense formulas reduce meal size and waste. Loaded with essential omega fatty acids, Inuk-nuk keeps coats shining, joints moving, noses on point. Produced in New Brunswick, Canada, using only best-of-best ingredients, Inukshuk is sold directly to consumers. I’ll feed nothing but Inukshuk. It’s like rocket fuel. The proof is in Char Dawg’s performance.

Tetra Hearing Delivers premium technology that’s specifically calibrated for the users own hearing and is comfortable, giving hunters a natural hearing experience, while still protecting their hearing. Using patent-pending Specialized Target Optimization™ (STO), the world’s first hearing technology designed optimize hearing for hunters in their specific hunting environments. TETRA gives hunters an edge and gives them their edge back. Can you hear me now?! Dang straight I can. Thanks to Tetra Hearing!

Voormi Wool-based technology is engineered to perform. Wool is nature’s miracle fiber. It’s light, wicks moisture, is inherently warm even when wet. It’s comfortable over a wide temperature gradient, naturally anti-microbial, remaining odor free. But Voormi is not your ordinary wool. It’s new breed of proprietary thermal wool takes it next level–it doesn’t itch, is surface-hardened to bead water from shaking duck dogs, and is available in your favorite earth tones and a couple unique concealment patterns. With wool-based solutions at the yarn level, Voormi eliminates the unwordly glow that’s common during low light while wearing synthetics. The high-e hoodie and base layers are personal favorites that I wear worldwide. Voormi’s growing line of innovative of performance products is authenticity with humility. It’s the practical hunting gear that we real duck hunters deserve.

Mojo Outdoors, most recognized name brand decoy number one maker of motion and spinning wing decoys in the world. More than just the best spinning wing decoys on the market, their ever growing product line includes all kinds of cool stuff. Magnetic Pick Stick, Scoot and Shoot Turkey Decoys much, much more. And don’t forget my personal favorite, yes sir, they also make the one – the only – world-famous Spoonzilla. When I pranked Terry Denman in Mexico with a “smiling mallard” nobody ever dreamed it would become the most talked about decoy of the century. I’ve used Mojo decoys worldwide, everywhere I’ve ever duck hunted from Azerbaijan to Argentina. I absolutely never leave home without one. Mojo Outdoors, forever changing the way you hunt ducks.

BOSS Shotshells copper-plated bismuth-tin alloy is the good ol’ days again. Steel shot’s come a long way in the past 30 years, but we’ll never, ever perform like good old fashioned lead. Say goodbye to all that gimmicky high recoil compensation science hype, and hello to superior performance. Know your pattern, take ethical shots, make clean kills. That is the BOSS Way. The good old days are now.

Tom Beckbe The Tom Beckbe lifestyle is timeless, harkening an American era that hunting gear lasted generations. Classic design and rugged materials withstand the elements. The Tensas Jacket is like the one my grandfather wore. Like the one I still wear. Because high-quality Tom Beckbe gear lasts. Forever. For the hunt.

Flashback Decoy by Duck Creek Decoy Works. It almost pains me to tell y’all about Duck Creek Decoy Work’s new Flashback Decoy because in  the words of Flashback Decoy inventor Tyler Baskfield, duck hunting gear really is “an arms race.” At my Mississippi camp, his flashback decoy has been a top-secret weapon among my personal bag of tricks. It behaves exactly like a feeding mallard, making slick-as-glass water roil to life. And now that my secret’s out I’ll tell y’all something else: I’ve got 3 of them.

Ducks Unlimited takes a continental, landscape approach to wetland conservation. Since 1937, DU has conserved almost 15 million acres of waterfowl habitat across North America. While DU works in all 50 states, the organization focuses its efforts and resources on the habitats most beneficial to waterfowl.

It really is Duck Season Somewhere for 365 days. Ramsey Russell’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast is available anywhere you listen to podcasts. Please subscribe, rate and review Duck Season Somewhere podcast. Share your favorite episodes with friends. Business inquiries or comments contact Ramsey Russell at And be sure to check out our new GetDucks Shop.  Connect with Ramsey Russell as he chases waterfowl hunting experiences worldwide year-round: Insta @ramseyrussellgetducks, YouTube @DuckSeasonSomewherePodcast,  Facebook @GetDucks