More than 13.4 million ducks were harvested in the United States during the 2003-2004 waterfowl hunting season, according to preliminary estimates compiled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In 2003, hunters harvested more than 3.8 million geese, up 13 percent from nearly 3.4 million the previous year.
Duck hunters spent about 7.4 million days in the field during the 2003 migratory waterfowl hunting season, down from 7.6 million days of duck hunting during the 2002 season. Hunters spent 4.7 million days hunting geese, similar to 2002.
In the Atlantic Flyway, more than 1.6 million ducks were harvested last season, down from 1.8 million the previous year. The 743,000 geese harvested in 2003 was down from 797,000 in 2002.
In the Mississippi Flyway, nearly 6.8 million ducks were harvested, up from nearly six million in 2002. The 1.5 million geese harvested was up from 1.2 million in 2002.
In the Central Flyway, hunters bagged nearly 2.5 million ducks last season. This is down from nearly 2.6 million in 2002. The 2003 harvest of 1.1 million geese was up from 979,000 in 2002.
In the Pacific Flyway, hunters harvested a total of more than 2.4 million ducks, up from nearly 2.3 million in 2002. The number of geese harvested, nearly 440,000, was up from 362,000 the year before.
In Alaska, more than 71,000 ducks were harvested, down from nearly 75,000 in the previous season. The goose harvest at 6,900 was up from 6,000 in the previous year.
Mallards were the most prevalent duck in the bag for hunters in the U.S., with more than 5 million birds harvested.
Other species popular among waterfowlers were green winged teal, 1.5 million harvested; gadwall, 1.5 million; wood duck, 1.2 million; and blue winged teal, 1 million.