The distribution and abundance of predators in the prairie pothole region and in other key breeding areas has shifted over time, putting breeding ducks at risk. For upland nesters, such as mallards, teal, gadwall, and pintails, predation by raccoons, skunks and other duck egg eaters often runs rampant on the prairies. This reality, coupled with declining duck nesting habitat, is disastrous for nest success—the primary factor that determines whether duck populations rise or fall.
Alarmed by plummeting duck numbers and restrictive seasons in the early 1990s, Delta Waterfowl was determined to find a management strategy to restore the region’s tremendous duck-producing potential.
Predator management has proven to be the most effective and efficient approach to increasing duck production. Delta’s research indicates that this tool is best applied across habitats with sparse nesting cover and intensive agriculture. Given agriculture’s permanent place on the prairie landscape and the ongoing losses of nesting cover, ensuring robust duck populations hinges on responsible predator management.