Predator Management

Declining duck nesting habitat and booming predator populations have been prevalent in the prairie pothole region and other key breeding areas for many decades. The combined effect 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 potential to produce ducks.

Predator Management proved to be the most effective and efficient approach to increasing duck production. Predator Management 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, future duck populations may increasingly depend on Predator Management.

Key aspects of Predator Management include:

  • The distribution and abundance of predators on the prairie duck breeding grounds has changed.
  • Predators such as red foxes, raccoons, skunks and badgers regularly find and destroy duck nests.
  • Professional trappers reduce predator numbers in areas of high breeding duck densities to put thousands of more ducks into the fall flight.
  • Delta Waterfowl is expanding its Predator Management program with additional sites in North Dakota and prairie Canada.