Geese are starting to trickle into northern parts of Kansas after cold fronts in recent weeks helped push them out of Canada, though heavy flooding across the state has affected hunting success and food availability.
Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys was beginning to see solid numbers of snow geese as of Thursday, according to Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports.
More than 10,000 snow geese were counted in the area and surrounding private agricultural fields and 200-plus mixed ducks.
The make-up lake is closed to waterfowl hunting, however, and boats are not allowed on the auxiliary lake during waterfowl season. Hunters may hunt on Unit No. 2 of the wildlife area.
Clinton Reservoir in Lawrence saw fair waterfowl numbers on Friday, according to the KDWPT. Survey numbers revealed 220 Canada geese, 50 mallards, 50 buffleheads, 46 hooded mergansers, 16 goldeneye, 10 common merganser and eight green-winged teal, with the lake level about 8 feet above its pool and releasing 1,000 cubic feet per second of water.
Milford Wildlife Area, which was heavily impacted by flooding, is still seeing water levels 11 feet above its conservation pool, meaning that birds are few and far between.
Perry also has been dealing with flooding issues, but about 1,000 ducks were observed in the area by KDWPT staff as of Nov. 7. Kyle, West River and Upper Ferguson Marshes, as well as the Mitigation Marsh, are all flooded, and the others remain above full pool.
At Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Missouri near the Kansas border, snow goose numbers skyrocketed in the past week.
The refuge counted 83,030 snow geese during their Nov. 12 survey, an increase of nearly 80,000 from the Nov. 3 count of 3,200. The Canada goose count dropped from 501 to 356 birds. There was a slight dip in the greater white-fronted goose count from 9,320 to 7,590, as well, while Ross' geese rose from 80 on Nov. 3 to 1,600 on Nov. 12.
Duck counts on Nov. 12 were greatly decreased at the refuge, as the mallard numbers dropped from 62,685 on Nov. 3 to 33,570 on Nov. 12 and Northern pintail fell from 39,625 birds counted to 830. Overall, there were 92,576 total geese and 37,915 total ducks counted on the refuge on Tuesday, and 95 percent of the wetlands were frozen.
Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Kansas counted 18,000 ducks, 25,000 light geese and 3,000 dark geese during its last waterfowl survey on Nov. 7. Of the 18,000 ducks, 82% were mallards, according to the refuge.