The early duck hunting season opens Saturday across Iowa. Orrin Jones, a wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says it’s unclear how the duck population may’ve fared in the dry weather conditions of this summer.

“It’s difficult to say…actually, the flooding earlier in the season probably had a detrimental effect on species of birds that were nesting in low lying areas,” Jones says. “We went into the nesting season at drought levels and came out at flood levels, so there’s no doubt we lost early nesting attempts.” More than 29,000 hunters will be participating in the opening of duck season this weekend, according to Jones.

He’s encouraging hunters to scout the areas they’re planning to hunt. “Water levels are highly variable and the birds are kind of scattered as a result,” Jones says. “Hunters should go to the areas they’re looking to hunt…look at it prior to their hunt to make sure the water levels are acceptable for how they’re planning to hunt.” The first duck hunting season runs statewide September 21-25.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)