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Nevada waterfowl hunters welcome rain, cooler weather

If there is anything that will make waterfowl hunters happy, it’s two days of rain and the arrival of much cooler weather. So I guess the time has come for Nevada waterfowl hunters to celebrate. At least a little bit.

Unseasonably warm weather has plagued duck hunters across the Southwest since the hunting season opened. Even hunters in California’s Central Valley, the heart of the Pacific Flyway, have felt the impacts of high temperatures and a rather dry weather pattern. A combination that will significantly dampen waterfowl hunting anywhere.

Hunters haven’t fared much better in Southern Nevada. In a Nov. 19 post on the Ducks Unlimited Migration Map, Matthew S. reported from Las Vegas that he was seeing incoming birds but the numbers were low.

“Really counting on a good freeze to bring all these birds that are doing so well for the folks in Idaho and SLC down here. Migrations were not this late last year. Very confusing,” he wrote.

Just two days earlier, C.M. reported seeing “peak numbers” of birds in Kuna, Idaho. Perhaps Matthew S. is about to get his wish.

“Hunted yesterday morning on the river,” wrote C.M. “I’ve never seen so many geese and ducks in a day. Had a great shoot with my brother and dad. Glad I made the trip. Tons of mallards and gadwall. Still plenty of birds to migrate down to Utah for me. Thank you for the hospitality Idaho.”

The weather front that has brought rain to the Southwest and cold temperatures to the Northwest should send some of C.M.’s Idaho birds this direction. And if cold weather fronts continue to move into the Northwest, more birds should move into the migration pattern. Some of those birds are sure to fly south through the Ruby Marshes and continue down through White Pine and Lincoln counties, eventually ending up at the Key Pittman or Overton Wildlife Management Areas.

Overton is open to hunting on even-numbered days, and Key Pittman, located in Hiko, is open on odd-numbered days. Reservations are required throughout the season at Overton. They can be made by calling 1-855-542-6369.

Other hunting options in Southern Nevada are the Pahranagat (Alamo) and Ash Meadows National Wildlife (Amargosa Valley). At Pahranagat, hunting is permitted only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Those of you who prefer hunting birds that fly well during drier weather conditions might want to consider making a trip to Arizona. The state offers hunters a second season that begins Friday and runs through Jan. 5. The daily bag limit is 15 birds, the possession limit is 45, and the season is open only for mourning doves. Since they are an invasive species, Arizona has no limit on Eurasian collard doves.

Also available in Arizona, though you will have to wait until after the New Year to go afield, are some 6,100 permits left over from the state’s draw for spring hunt permits. A handful of turkey permits are available, but the rest are for javelina. Among them are permits for the youth only javelina hunt, as well as the general season, the handgun, archery, muzzleloader (HAM) season and the archery only season.

A complete list of available permits is available at azgfd.com/Hunting/Draw/.

These permits may be obtained through a mail-in paper application process, and the Arizona Game Fish Department began accepting those applications Monday. Application forms are available online and must be submitted to the AZGFD office in Phoenix. You also can purchase leftover hunt permit-tags at all AZGFD offices on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Monday. The nearest office is in Kingman.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the department. Any opinions are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com.

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