Panhandle WMAs are open for waterfowl hunting

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Waterfowl season is open at Panhandle wildlife management areas.

Boundary-Smith Creek and McArthur Lake WMAs both offer opportunities to hunt waterfowl from Oct. 12 through Jan. 24 when both wetland complexes normally are iced over.

Water in the north, north central and southern portions of the Boundary-Smith Creek site draw good numbers of birds to feed and loaf throughout the day, according to IDFG. Blinds and decoy use as well as jump and pass-shooting are among possibilities for hunters. Nearly 1,500 waterfowl were surveyed last week including mallard, wigeon, Canada geese, as well as pintail, gadwall and white-fronted geese.

Hunters should be aware of heavy fog in the morning and remember that grizzly bears frequent the area.

A revitalization effort at McArthur Lake WMA has allowed smartweed, beggartick, wapato and other wetland forage to grow along the mudflats, and drew more than 1,400 waterfowl over the past few weeks, according to IDFG. Canada geese, mallard, wigeon, wood duck, teal, pintail, and gadwall are among species that inhabit the wetland. As runoff and rains continue to fill the lake, the western and eastern shorelines allow the best opportunities for small paddlecraft.

Hunting regulations including limits and shooting hours apply at the WMAs

— Ralph Bartholdt

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