Waterfowl hunting

2017 waterfowl hunt opener conditions

Howard Slough Waterfowl Management Area

Marsh conditions: Conditions are good in the main impoundments. The water is at full pool/spilling level and contains excellent pondweed growth. Extensive phragmites marshes have developed west and south of the main impoundments, but they were chemically treated along the main impoundment dike in 2015. These treated areas were rolled the last two springs to help break down the old growth. There are now over 1,000 acres that are open and accessible to hunt. Some small, seasonal ponds on the Hooper Hot Springs Unit are low or dry. The east side impoundment edge was also chemically treated last fall and grazed this summer. On the east side of the main impoundment and southeast of the popular Shotgun Alley location, an older 280-acre phragmites treatment area has been grazed to control regrowth. This area looks good and hunted very well last year. It is one of our most successful phragmites treatment areas.

Bird numbers: Bird numbers are excellent in the main impoundments. The 280-acre grazed area has a lot of birds. Some of the birds are far west of the marsh areas along the lakefront. Generally, duck numbers have held well above average and goose and swan numbers have increased substantially over the last few years.

General information: The access road has been graded. The gates will open on Thursday, September 21, 2017.

Hunting forecast: Howard Slough had some of the best WMA youth hunt success in the area over the last few years. Hunting should be great again during the youth hunt and throughout the season. For its size, Howard Slough holds up very well under a very large number of hunters. Swan hunting should be good later in the season too.