The duck season is set to open this weekend and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports that access to several of their popular public wildlife management areas in southwest Iowa have been cut off by floodwater.

DNR wildlife biologist Matt Dollison says parts of the Riverton area’s Jensen Tract south of County Road J-46 are blocked due to flooding. “The boat ramp there, and the walk-in parking lot that’s very popular — both of those have been cut off by floodwater,” Dollison says “The road is closed there due to water coming in through a previous levee blowout on the south end of that area. So, that’s kind of a new one.”

Many other areas are also blocked by Missouri River flood water. “Including the M.U. Payne Wildlife Management Area, the Auldon Bar Wildlife Management Area, Copeland Bend and Forney Lake and Noddleman Island,” he says. “Several of the roads that go to those are currently still underwater also. I guess people just need to be aware as they head out for the duck opener this Saturday there could be limited access. They might want to get out maybe beforehand and ensure they can get where they want to go.”

Dollison anticipates a slight reduction in the number of hunters coming into the area. “The main area at Riverton north of the highway is our most popular area,” Dollison says, “and it’s currently still accessible–both by boats at the boat ramp, and by walk-in hunters. I’m sure we’re still have quite a few hunters going there. People can still walk in basically anywhere they can get on the other parts of the areas.”

Dollison says the flooding isn’t good for people — but it could be a boost for ducks and other waterfowl. “Waterfowl use water — so having a bunch more water around–especially these flooded, weedy crop fields that weren’t able to be planted and that sort of thing–those are going to be great areas for the waterfowl to use. There’s going to be a lot of migratory habitat for ducks and geese with all this water. So, they’ll be good that way,” Dollison says. “But, it will probably spread the birds out quite a bit more than usual.”

Dollison also doesn’t believe the flooding will significantly impact the area’s deer population. He believes most of the deer herds along the Missouri River have relocated to other areas, such as the Loess Hills.

(By Mike Peterson, KMA, Shenandoah/DNR photo)