All the water users in California’s Central Valley have been put on notice that they’ll get significantly less water than usual this year (if any), and that’s going to hit us two ways: First, rice farmers have cut back their planting this year, facing uncertainty about whether they’d get the water to bring the crops to maturity. It is the rice that harvesters miss that makes our ducks a bunch of tasty little fatties, and there’s going to be about 100,000 acres less of it for ducks to eat when all 5 million or so of them get here. On top of that, none of the rice farmers expect to get water in the fall to decompose the rice stubble, and that water is what legions of duck hunters here hunt in. Second, public hunting areas – the national wildlife refuges and state wildlife areas – are facing severe cutbacks as well, and no one knows yet whether they’ll get enough water to allow hunting after sanctuary requirements have been met. If hunting is allowed, the quotas of hunters allowed in may drop severely.
Holly goes on to write that with the news from up north that the duck population is doing well, a ton of ducks are going to be fighting for limited areas that have water, meaning it’s likely going to be very crowded with not only waterfowl but hunters in the public areas up and down the state. You can read the rest of Holly’s article here.