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West Virginia Wildlife
Waterfowl Survey
Patrick McMurtry We Take To The Skies To Count Waterfowl

January 22, 2014
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


When the temperatures fall to zero, there's only one thing that makes sense, grab a camera, climb in a helicopter and go count waterfowl. That's exactly what we did, and as it turned out, the weather worked in our favor. Randy Kelly, a biologist with The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, explains why cold is good for counting.

"We saw a lot of waterfowl today, this cold front pushed the waterfowl down and the ice on the ponds has forced them to the river which makes them a lot more visible for us. We saw several thousand ducks today and thousands of Canada geese. We saw a lot of mallards, black ducks, pin tails, some things we don't normally see."

That's important, because the better information we get, the better things will be for duck and goose hunters next year. This waterfowl survey is something that's done every year and it takes a lot of coordination.

"The waterfowl survey is a collaborative effort with the state and The United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It's done various ways, not everybody flies like we do. We fly here, on the Bluestone and New River areas. In other parts we do ground surveys." says Kelly.

The Ohio and Kanawah Rivers get a pretty thorough survey because ducks and geese love the areas. And because many of these birds are part time residents, the Feds are the ones who really are responsible for deciding how you'll hunt them in WV next year.

"Waterfowl are unique in that Fish and Wildlife have control because of their migratory status. They give us guidelines for us to set our seasons and bag limits." says Kelly.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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