From 1976 to 1980 Maine waterfowl hunters bagged to more than 83,000 ducks. By 1989 that number had fallen to less than 46,000, a 45% reduction. During that same time we saw a 40% decline in duck stamp sales.
A lot of people at that time blamed the decrease on loss of habitat and hunting space. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report at that time estimated that Maine lost more than 1.2 million acres of historical wetlands. A lot of those acres were lost to development.
Recently Brad Allen at DIFW provided me with numbers for the 2017 season. A total of 40,900 ducks were taken: 32,200 dabblers and divers and 8700 sea ducks. Maine hunters also shot 15,200 Canada geese.
Only 9800 hunted ducks and geese in Maine in 2017, a very small number.
I used to love duck hunting with my Chesapeake Bay Retiever Blake, along Hopkins Stream which flows by my house. I also have very fond memories of duck hunting with my dad when I was very young. I can still see that first black duck I ever shot, flying by us on the little stream that flowed into Annabessacook Lake. Dad said shoot, and I did, and that duck plunged into the stream. Yes, I was thrilled!
Blake was a great retriever but my favorite story was one time he really fouled up. I shot a duck that fell into the middle of the stream. Blake jumped in and swam out to recover it but he took the duck to the other side of the stream and ate it!