A mallard drake is the duck most prized by waterfowl hunters. During the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s annual midwinter aerial waterfowl survey, observers estimated 1.4 million total ducks in the Delta, half of which (729,960 estimated) were mallards. The Delta mallard population estimate during the Jan. 6-9 count was slightly less than the 2010-2020 long-term midwinter survey average of about 859,000, but the total duck population estimate was above the long-term average of over 1.2 million. In December, the aerial survey count estimated about 890,000 total ducks in the Delta. The aerial survey was conducted before a major weather front added significant rainfall to the state and increased available habitat for ducks. Last weekend’s rainfall and a brief drop in temperatures was the biggest winter weather event to hit Arkansas during the waterfowl season. Conditions mostly were dry throughout December with unseasonably warm days that continued into early January. "Statewide habitat availability generally has been low this wintering period," said Luke Naylor, the AGFC’s waterfowl program coordinator. "Overbank flooding along a few river […]