Semo Outfitters

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Odd ball in every crowd..

81*.. I’m requesting a recount of my own for the last 4 days of duck season! MAKE DUCK HUNTING GREAT AGAIN!!!

This weeks numbers.. it’s miserably warm.. upper 70’s is not duck hunting weather for November.

November 10th, 2020 – Aerial Waterfowl Inventory Blog

We had to tweak the waterfowl survey a bit this week because my pilot, Mike Cruce, had prior commitments later in the week. In addition, we also had to avoid the rain event moving through the Upper Midwest on Tuesday, and the excessive winds gusting to 26+ mph on Sunday and Monday afternoons. Due to all the above distractions, we surprised many Illinois River duck hunters on Sunday morning (November 8th), and our earlier than normal arrival on Monday morning (November 9th) spurred the curiosity of the Mississippi River hunters.

Total duck numbers (386,060) along the Illinois River really didn’t change much (up 4%) from the November 3rd survey; however, the ducks did shift around to different refuges. The South Pool of Chautauqua NWR has a little more water on it this week and the ducks, especially green-winged teal, have found it. Also, it appeared the ring-necked ducks that usually reside on the Barkhausen Unit of the Cuba Island complex at Sanganois SFWA moved about 8 miles north to Jack Lake on Grand Island, where I estimated 25,000 ring-necks, commonly referred to as “blackjacks”.

The central Mississippi River numbers (447,430) this week jumped about 80,000 ducks when compared with the November 3rd estimate. This was a 22% increase from last week and was 39% above average for the second week of November. I don’t really think there was a major migration event between the surveys, but a reflection of the hunting pressure as Missouri’s north and central zone duck seasons opened on Saturday, November 7th. All those ducks that were loafing on the private duck clubs were forced into the refuges to avoid the hunting pressure.

I was unable to get a decent photo of ducks for my blog this week. Sorry about that – excessive winds made for a turbulent flight. Winds gusting above 25 mph are NOT conducive to waterfowl surveys.

Good luck to you hunters, and hopefully everyone will stay safe! For more information about the waterfowl survey, check out our webpage at Stay tuned for more updates next week…….

Photo 1. The inflated windsock at Pekin Airport just after sunrise let us know it was going to be a “bumpy ride” in the airplane on Monday morning.

Photo 2. A birds-eye view of the Illinois River Valley on Sunday morning.

Opening Day 2020.. good times X3!
Croc brings in 3 ducks at one time and wants his picture taken with them.. he’s such a show off!!

Missouri Waterfowl and Habitat Survey

Good luck to all hunters on the Missouri middle zone opener! Coordinated statewide surveys of Conservation Area wetlands and National Wildlife Refuges are conducted approximately every other week during the waterfowl season. They are normally conducted on Mondays, weather permitting, and reported on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

The latest numbers..

November 6th, 2020 – Aerial Waterfowl Inventory Blog

We got up early this week and flew the survey on November 3rd. Duck numbers were pretty good and totaled right at or slightly above the 10-yr average. This week we had over 361,000 ducks in the Illinois River Valley, and almost 368,000 along the central Mississippi River. Several times this week as I was figuring out the species composition I thought, it’s the whole gamut of ducks. Literally, there was a little bit of everything, except for the ice ducks (mergansers and common goldeneye) of course. Mallards (127,715) along the Illinois River were 17% above average, and we estimated 124,025 mallards (93% above average) along the central Mississippi.

We had a good start to the central zone duck opener on October 24th. I am pretty sure we had new ducks arrive on October 26th, and another small bunch of migrants arrived on October 29th and maybe some on November 1st. However, we have officially hit the duck hunting doldrums of early November. Everyone is complaining that duck hunting is SLOW at best. The weather pattern is giving us bluebird days with high temperatures in the mid 70’s and low temps well above average. That’s not what you want to hear as a waterfowler. I haven’t even considered going to the blind all week due to the weather. On the brighter side, the climatologists are predicting a change around Veteran’s Day – we can only hope they’re correct!

The other factor hurting central Illinois right now is the drought. While the southern states have been plagued with hurricanes and substantial rainfall, we can’t “buy” a drop of water up here. The drought naturally dewatered many seasonal wetlands this summer and made abundant food resources for ducks. However, many of refuges are struggling to get water back on the duck food. And, those areas without water control and pumps are high and dry.

Missouri’s north and central zone duck seasons open on Saturday, November 7th. Good luck to you hunters, and hopefully everyone will stay safe! For more information about the waterfowl survey, check out our webpage at Stay tuned for more updates next week…….

Photo 1 shows a variety of waterbirds basking in the sun at Hennepin and Hopper Lakes on the Upper Illinois River. Note the white breasts of the northern pintails shining in the abundant sun.

An abundance of moist-soil vegetation waiting for water can be seen in Photo 2 near Pekin, Illinois.

The drought has even impacted duck food at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge (foreground) and The Emiquon Preserve (background) as seen in Photo 3. Managers at both locations are trying to add water, but the drought and other factors are interfering with their efforts.

Photo 4 of Spunky Bottoms (Merwin Preserve) near Meredosia, Illinois really sums it up. Abundant natural vegetation, but the site was completely dry on November 3rd.

Well boys and girls!! This is the last sleep before it kicks off!! Y'all ready?!?!

🔈🔈volume up🔈🔈 Probably the most asked question I get is.. do you have any calling tips for me? Right here it is so listen up. These sounds will kill every mallard in the flyway! You don’t have to be or sound like or world champ caller to kill ducks. There’s about 50 mallards in that standing corn.. that’s probably about how many decoys an average guy hunts over. So sound natural and you will kill more ducks! Just for fun tag that hunting buddy that can’t leave the call alone and is always calling.. who ever is tagged the most between now and Friday night.. I’ll send him a present.

Opportunity it was! Thanks for all the interest but I have filled the days!!

COVID COVID COVID!! One groups misfortune is another’s opportunity! I now have a very rare opportunity for you to hunt the first week of season in Missouri for 12 hunters. I have a corporate group that had to cancel due to the company putting the brakes on all employee travel due to uptick in covid cases. So here’s the big chance to jump on these rare days.. November 10,11,12.. 12 hunters.. looking for groups in multiples of 4.. these days will go in a hurry so if you want a high volume of ducks hunt.. don’t hesitate they will be gone. Contact me directly to book (573)579-9330. Good luck and look forward to having you on a fast paced early season hunt!!

Keep the trickle coming..

October 30th, 2020 – Aerial Waterfowl Inventory Blog

We completed the aerial waterfowl inventory of both rivers on Wednesday, October 28th. It seems like it has been a while since the weather has cooperated with us. I need to send out a Big Thanks again this week to Josh Osborn for taking my seat in the airplane. Today is my last day in Covid-19 quarantine, so hopefully, I will be back in the air next week. Josh estimated over 271,000 ducks in the Illinois River Valley (IRV). This estimate is about 3% below the 10-yr average, but up 32% from last week. We lost some of the early season migrants, like northern pintail and northern shoveler, but picked up some mallards, which were 26% above average and nearly double what we had last week in the IRV. The central Mississippi River Valley (CMRV) had over 252,000 ducks about 35% above average for the last week of October. It was hard to make comparisons between weeks because we missed the lower portion of the CMRV due to low clouds last week. However, I think we had a push of new birds into the central Mississippi River because a few diving ducks trickled in on Pool 19 and Port Louisa and Henderson Creek duck numbers jumped substantially. I have heard many reports of quality duck hunting over the past week, including Granite City, Nutwood, Pleasant Hill, Beardstown, Havana, Manito, Chillicothe, and Hennepin. Let’s hope the trend continues!

I decided to post some graphs representing the weekly averages (2010–2019) of duck species along the two rivers. The averages are one way to gauge how the migration is progressing each week. By looking at the graphs, one can see how migration chronology varies by species. Several species, like pintail and gadwall, have reached their peak numbers in central Illinois by early November; however, the coveted mallards and canvasbacks peak much later and maintain those numbers for multiple weeks during fall. If you are chasing pintails, you better get after them because by Thanksgiving many will be gone.

Good luck and stay safe! For more information about the waterfowl survey, check out our webpage at or Stay tuned for more updates next week…….

It's almost time!

Hard to beat a hunt that kicks off with a pack of Ringers!! It won't be long now!!

Missouri Waterfowl and Habitat Survey

Here’s some numbers from a few days ago..I can tell you my area has picked up a substantial number of ducks since this report Coordinated statewide surveys of Conservation Area wetlands and National Wildlife Refuges are conducted approximately every other week during the waterfowl season. They are normally conducted on Mondays, weather permitting, and reported on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Day 2 of youth season.. just as good as day one!! Lots a smiles, ducks and full straps and like fishermen say.. we left em biting! Can’t wait until November 7th!!

All you need is a little patience because sometimes the last one is the hardest to get.. in more ways than one.

The struggles are real when you’re tagged out on pintails!

2020 duck season is underway and these kids put us on the board! Couple first duck hunts that won’t be forgotten.. good to be in the blind again!!

Latest numbers..

October 23rd, 2020 – Aerial Waterfowl Inventory Blog

It has been a rough two weeks trying to get the waterfowl surveys completed. If you remember, the week of October 12th, the wind blew with gusts to 45 MPH all week, and this week (October 19th) we had wind, rain, fog, and low ceilings. Those weather conditions aren’t conducive to flying VFR (visual flight rules) surveys. To add to the frustration, I was out of commission this week and my colleague, Josh Osborn, had to step in and fly the surveys. Josh and Mike were able to complete the Illinois River Valley (IRV) and partially finished the central Mississippi River Valley (CMRV) flight on Wednesday, October 21st, 2020. We failed to obtain waterfowl abundance on the lower CMRV from Clarence Cannon refuge to the confluence with the Illinois River. I did speak with some duck club managers in the confluence region, and they indicated good numbers of ducks down there with recent arrivals. With that, total duck numbers (205,140) were up 24% in the IRV from last week and were very close to the 10-yr average of 215,777 ducks. Josh noted that nearly every surveyed location had increased duck numbers this week, compared to last week. A random assortment of nearly all the monitored species of ducks and geese were present this week, including a smattering of diving ducks in a few locations.

I wanted to plug our research project on wood ducks again this year. The Forbes Biological Station has ~100 wood ducks marked this fall. This study is part of a 3-yr project to evaluate postbreeding wood ducks in the IRV. We captured wood ducks near Banner, Havana, and Chandlerville this year and deployed 33 GSM cellular transmitters and 70 VHF transmitters. The birds are currently scattered between Pekin and Beardstown along the Illinois River and in streams, ditches, and ponds several miles from the river floodplain. I would expect a few of the birds to depart central Illinois with the cooler weather that is arriving and the start of the Illinois central zone ducks season opener on October 24th. If you happen to harvest one of these ducks, please give us a call so we can add the information to our database. Our office number is 217-332-3825(DUCK); however, most of our staff are working remotely from home due to Covid-19. You can also email me at [email protected] with your harvest, and we will do our best to give you a brief history of the birds movements since August. The harvested transmitter is yours to keep, we just want the information about the bird. Of course, PLEASE report your leg bands to

Good Luck to those of you heading to the duck blind this weekend for the central zone waterfowl opener! For more information about the waterfowl survey, check out our webpage at Stay tuned for more updates next week…….

Photo credits go to Ryan Askren. Check out his webpage at

Big cold push up north could mean early season mallards!!! Who’s excited?!

🔊 🔈 volume up!! 🔊 🔊 If you want to learn to sound like a wood duck on the water.. here’s your chance. They are callable and they do decoy and a blast to shoot!!

Going to be an interesting year.. still over 2 weeks out from opening day and ducks pushed well into Arkansas already. Guess we’ll just beat up on Mallards again this year!

Coldest Air 🥶 this early in over 75 years possible next week. Winter Weather ❄️ to I-20 on the table across the South as well. Here is a look at the potential Windchills next Monday Night 😳 Can you spot that front 👀. I just issued a very detailed update on the Supporter Hub on the possibilities of Winter Weather next week.

Snow Maps - Sleet Maps - Ice Potential

Record Cold 🥶 Maps

This would be Truly Amazing if this takes place. Also, the much above average snow cover up North will play a huge role with this potential historic Outbreak for this time of year.

Image Credit - Weather Bell 🛎
18Z GFS Model

Fill the pipeline up and send them my way!

Sorry Friends! I had some family matters to attend to this afternoon, and I didn't get the numbers figured until late. The wind kept us out of the air all week, but we finally squeaked the Illinois River in this morning. The ducks are scattered all around, and numbers are above the 10-yr average. Hopefully the weather will be more cooperative next week. Good Luck with the Illinois North Zone opener tomorrow.

4 weeks out from the duck opener..we’re scratchy our itchy trigger fingers anyway we can! Congrats @jedgarner22 and Drew on these dandy’s!!

It's a classic moment during every hunt. No matter how it's called, you better be ready when the boss says go!

So your saying there’s a chance.. stock up on ammo!

Coolest Opening to October in Over a Decade Expected - How cold ? Record Cold for this time of year.

Early season Frost is on the table for Northern Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and Northern Georgia next weekend.

Early season Freeze possible possible for parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and the Higher Elevations of Northern Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

Forecast - Days 1-10

This weekend we warm up and dry out before another cool front comes crashing into the region on Monday with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. We stay seasonal all week then - The Big Cool Shot is expected for next Friday - Saturday and Sunday. This is the time frame for the early season frost and or freeze 🥶 along with record cold temperatures for this time of year.

Start preparing for the cooler weather - Because, next weekend will likely turn on your heat for the first time this season. I have no idea if this means a Cold Winter is in store or this is a sign of lots of Snow ⛄️ and Cold coming down the road. We’ll have to wait and see.

I like our chances heading into a La Niña Winter. These types of Winters have produced some extreme cold and lots of Winter Weather in the past. Cool and dry overall most of the time with some extremes at times.

I have posted the latest 6z GFS for next Saturday Morning 😮 Wind Chills is close to the actual Temperatures. Yes! This cold air will be heading South and East later into next weekend.

The latest CPC NOAA Outlook is showing over a 60/70% chance of being Below Normal in this timeframe as well.

One last thing of note - Even though, this forecast is medium to moderate. I will continue to watch this air mass as for as timing and the strength of the cool air late next week into the weekend. Because, this could trend colder or warmer with time.

Fun Facts - Yesterday “ Wednesday “ Some Record Cool High Temperatures occurred across parts of Arkansas with Highs not making it out of the 50’s and Lower 60’s for this time of year.

I have attached the 6-10 Day CPC NOAA Outlook below along with the latest 6z GFS for next Saturday morning. Brrr! The seasons a changing 🍁 🍂

Have a great Thursday - SBB

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It's almost time!
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30425 State Highway 25
Advance, MO
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