Waterfowl hunting

2013 waterfowl hunt opener conditions

Howard Slough Waterfowl Management Area

Marsh conditions: Good in main impoundments water is at full pool/spilling levels and contain excellent pondweed growth. New extensive phragmites marshes have developed west and south of main impoundments and were chemically treated along the main impoundment dike. Some seasonal, small ponds on the Hooper Hot Springs Unit are low and/or dry and the phragmites throughout the whole unit was chemically treated last fall. The east-side impoundment edge was also chemically treated this summer. An older 280-acre phragmites treatment area has been grazed again to control regrowth on the east side of the main impoundment southeast of the popular "Shotgun Alley" location. This area looks good, hunted very well last year, and is one of our most successful phragmites treatment areas.

Bird numbers: Good bird numbers are in main impoundments. The 280-acre grazed area has few birds but was just recently flooded and bird numbers should increase greatly within the next couple weeks. Some birds are way west of the marsh areas along lakefront. Generally duck numbers have been holding well above average and goose and swan numbers have increased substantially the last few years here.

Access: The access road is a little bumpy but will be graded by the general opener. There will be some temporary, one- or two-day construction activates along the east impoundment dike that may temporally disturb some hunters. We hope that construction will be completed by the general opener.

Hunting forecast: The Slough had some of the best WMA Youth Hunt success in the region the last few years, and should be great again this year. It should hunt well throughout the season also. For its size it holds up very well under extremely heavy hunting pressure. Goose and swan hunting is expected to be excellent later on.

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