Ducks Unlimited Podcast

Dr. Mike Schummer, Roosevelt Waterfowl Ecologist at SUNY ESF, joins host Dr. Mike Brasher to discuss an incoming winter storm, how it will influence duck migration, and the implications of Siberian snow cover and a moderate El Nino for winter weather forecasts across eastern North America. Dr. Schummer also shares insights from early-season duck hunts in New York, an exciting update on his new podcast project, The FowlWeather Podcast, and common ground for conservation.

Creators & Guests

Mike Brasher
Ducks Unlimited Podcast Science Host

What is Ducks Unlimited Podcast?

Ducks Unlimited Podcast is a constant discussion of all things waterfowl; from in-depth hunting tips and tactics, to waterfowl biology, research, science, and habitat updates. The DU Podcast is the go-to resource for waterfowl hunters and conservationists. Ducks Unlimited is the world's leader in wetlands conservation.

Mike Brasher: Hey everyone, welcome back to the Ducks Unlimited podcast. I am your host on this episode, Dr. Mike Brazier, and joining me is a return guest and someone that I think a lot of our audience will remember and will want to hear from again, be excited to hear from again, because every time we have him on, it's to talk about some changing weather conditions or some seasonal forecast related to weather and climatic factors that influence duck movements, where, when, that type of stuff. So, joining me on the line is Dr. Mike Schumer from State University of New York Environmental… No, what is it, Mike? I messed it up there. ESF.
Mike Schummer: It's good. It's all good. It's the longest college name in history, I think. It is the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. We go by ESF.

Mike Brasher: It's the college part that I was missing, you know, because you have a certain image or a certain idea of what something is supposed to sound like. And when I didn't incorporate the college, I'm like, oh, I was lost. So College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Did I get it that time? Yes, you did. All right. You're good. ESF. So welcome back, Mike. Thanks for taking time to join us here. We're going to start out. Give us a brief reminder of the position you hold. Describe yourself to our audience for those that may be hearing you for the first time and what's your area of expertise. Let's just go that way.

Mike Schummer: Yeah, thanks, Mike. That's a lot of pressure. I am an associate professor at ESF. I'm also the Roosevelt Waterfall Ecologist at the Roosevelt Wildlife Station. Roosevelt Wildlife Station is really old. It's been there since like 1911. It's one of the only things that Teddy Roosevelt actually named after himself. So just a little plug for that. New York has a huge history in conservation, right, Mike? DU started in New York.

Mike Brasher: That's right.

Mike Schummer: People people kind of forget that. So I teach a ecology management of waterfowl class. And then I have a follow up course that is wetland conservation and management for wildlife, which is kind of like the broader class. And then we do a summer course where we take students out and have them see kind of full blown kind of wetland management as well. I've also recently taken over the ornithology position, so I'm teaching ornithology every spring to about 60 students. But our focus at ESF is really waterfowl, wetlands, very applied research for waterfowl conservation at the continental scale.

Mike Brasher: And Mike, you have described yourself on previous episodes as sort of a closet meteorologist. I kind of consider you a meteorologist at this point, because a lot of the research, I think you have some personal interest in that space, but you've also kind of married that personal interest with your research interest, your scientific interest, and you've applied your I guess you've tried to use data to understand what drives waterfowl migration. And there's a great story there behind how all that came to be and the paths that you went along to develop some of the products that you have now. And we don't need to cover all of that again. I would encourage people to go back through our archives and search for your name as a guest on previous episodes. That's Dr. Mike Schumer, S-C-H-U-M-M-E-R. and you can get more of the history of that, but you're pretty unique, at least across the waterfowl academic profession in the type of work that you've done in this regard. And I always, always enjoy, we're gonna talk a little bit later on about some new things that you have going, a podcast and a website and so forth, but I always enjoy talking with you because it means As I said at the beginning, that we're going to hear about, in some case local, but more than any other sort of global meteorological cycles that you've studied and there's tons of data on now, and we try to link that or you try to link that to waterfowl migrations. I know that here we are in late October. There's a couple of things happening. We're recording this on October 24th, and we actually have one of the first significant weather systems coming into the Mid-Continent. I wanted to get you to talk about that here in a minute. But first, the other thing that a lot of us have heard about coming into this fall and winter season is something called El Nino. And the fact that we are trending towards maybe moderate El Nino, moderately strong El Nino pattern. And we get questions every now and then about what that is. And I think there are some broad patterns. We've talked about those with you before. And I think it heavily influences the way you describe sort of the early season forecast. for this waterfowl season. So I want to start there, if that's okay with you, kind of recap where we are on El Nino, why it's important, and what you have described to some of your followers and some of your listeners on what it might mean for an early season forecast for us.

Mike Schummer: Yeah, it's a little tough with an El Nino for early season. It's, it's, it's gonna really hit folks late December and January probably for the most part, right? There's going to be a lot of wobbly, what I call wobbly atmosphere stuff. And that's like polar vortex disruption. The media calls it polar vortex, but it's like, This disruption in Arctic air that then pours into certain parts of the continent, which is going to happen this week, right? Mike, I under forecast this, by the way. I just looked at it. I did my homework. So people are aware when people come on here, especially if they're asked technical stuff by Mike. They're going to do their homework, and I looked at everything, and the cold air that I forecast to only get to like, you know, mid-North Dakota is going to push way into Iowa and even places further south.

Mike Brasher: I'm happy about that, by the way.

Mike Schummer: I know, I know, I know.

Mike Brasher: For multiple reasons.

Mike Schummer: So this is the stuff that, you know, like everybody says, like El Nino gives general patterns. The south is going to be cold and wet. The prairies are going to be generally warm throughout winter. But that doesn't mean you're not going to get a cold outbreak that pushes ducks south. And so, you know, I'll plug the foul weather podcast now.

Mike Brasher: Yeah.

Mike Schummer: Do it. We give a weekly forecast on Sunday, and I'd say we under-forecast it. I think ducks are gonna move even further south than what we had said already. And that's gonna happen, right? Like, it's a seven-day forecast. Stuff changes. But we're at least forecasting the movement of birds ahead of time. But yeah, El Nino's gonna affect our winter. We expect a warm kind of prairie upper Midwest, a dry Great Lakes, and a wet and cool south. And that'll help. There's a lot of drought going on in the mid-continent right now in general. All the river gauges are low. Everything looks really dry. And we need water in those places, right? So that's not going to hurt people, I don't think, for duck hunting.

Mike Brasher: Yeah, Mike, I was down in Louisiana this past week, and even before that I had been getting reports from a lot of my friends and colleagues down there. Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Louisiana, a lot of those units are dry, completely dry. We're talking like cracked marsh dry. A lot of places that people typically have good success during teal season were completely dry. The only water was in some of the deeper canals and ditches. Uh, it is an incredibly dry landscape. I drove south, uh, to, to just south of, from Memphis to south of Houma, uh, all the way to the Gulf essentially this past week. And you get past, you get south of Jackson, Mississippi, and I've never seen anything like it, Mike. And it was just so dry that, I mean, periodically you would see where a car, it would have been an accident and a fire would have broken out on the median and it would jump the median and on both sides of the roads. And then periodic, just the random dead tree just in amongst otherwise mature trees, pine trees, deciduous trees. It was the number of apparently dead trees, completely brown leaves or needles in the case of pine trees was just shocking to me. And I think it's just a testament to the extreme drought that's going on in the southern portion of those states. It's dry in the mid-south as well, Arkansas, Missouri, northern Mississippi, and certainly the Great Plains. So your description of a cool, wet winter for some of those mid or southern latitude states is certainly welcome. We haven't seen it yet, so we're waiting on it to materialize. Yeah, anything else to kind of add on the El Nino front? Has anything changed since the more recent, since kind of you spoke about it on your podcast, the strength of the El Nino or anything of that nature?

Mike Schummer: Not really. I mean, it's it's still there's you know, there's multiple forecasts out there for it. Right. And so it's either in a moderate in all likelihood or a strong El Nino. So the likelihood of across North America, like a full blown super cold winter is low. So whatever ducks move your way at whatever time. Right. I'd say take advantage of that because it could moderate. And you know that it's not just about the movement of birds into your area, but then what the weather is on the day you hunt I mean I hunted this morning and I did a grind and we I shot five ducks but it was it wasn't easy and it was a private marsh I should have killed six birds within you know 30 minutes and it was just high skies and no wind and it's going to be 70 degrees today where where we're at in central New York so As I told you, Mike, I fully de-boned a deer that I shot with a bow last night before we talked to you guys. So things got to get done when temperatures are warm, but the ducks don't always fly. So when you get those cold events, you should probably take advantage of them. um you know look for the forecast for those for sure just a kind of long-term thing the seasonal we'll dig into this later mike so i might cut this now but the the seasonal stuff um the next seasonal one's gonna come out uh november 6th right so that'll give us a feel for what's really gonna happen this year as well and It doesn't look good, so Siberian snow cover is horribly bad. But the ice cover, oddly, in the Arctic has closed up all the areas. It's like, think about Great Lakes. You know, if the Great Lakes are open, there's huge snowfall across New York and other areas late in winter. But the Arctic ice is actually closed up where Siberia can even get snow anymore. So the likelihood of a system that's going to create like polar vortex disruption type stuff is low. Really? I'm basically going off map here and telling you this. So. Late in winter, I think we're going to be really hurting.

Mike Brasher: Yeah, so it's iced up. Siberian ice is pretty extensive. And then that eliminates or that reduces the chance for moisture to get into the air once the water freezes. And then the moisture in the air is what leads to the snowfall. Is that a general pattern? Is that the way it works?

Mike Schummer: That's exactly what it is. It's just like the Great Lakes, right? And and when when Lake Erie freezes up, I mean, Buffalo, New York is known for its snow, right? When Lake Erie freezes up, it doesn't snow anymore. And when Lake Erie is open in March, they get just pounded. But the area just north of Siberia has actually already locked up. I don't even know all the physics of this or how the sea ice happens, but it's locked up. So the likelihood of Siberia getting any more snow is low. And that that greatly affects oddly you know it does it affects low and high pressure systems and how we get weather in North America and how we get cold outbreaks. So the likelihood of cold outbreaks right now is a really quick and dirty estimate looks pretty low.

Mike Brasher: Now, does that Siberian pattern have any effect on the likelihood of us getting the cool, wet conditions here in the southern reaches? What do we know about those kind of interactions?

Mike Schummer: Yeah, that's a tough one, I think.

Mike Brasher: It's like, when's it going to get wet? That's what I want to know down here. When's it going to happen? Because it's not in the forecast.

Mike Schummer: Right. I think that's what people debate about, right? I think it's going to be late. I think it's going to be like a January event. And my concern is you guys are going to get cooler. So it says cool and wet. And when folks at southern latitudes here are cool, they're like, oh, great. But the problem is if it's warm north of you, the birds aren't there. So you got cool weather and it's wet. So where I'm at is that I think birds like these few events we're going to have. We've got some wobbly stuff going on in the jet stream. Birds are going to move south. They're going to move into like I don't want to throw Missouri under the bus because they they hold your guys birds, but they're going to move into those mid latitudes. They're going to hang there. And then the problem is going to be is that if late you get wet, then yeah, if birds even move to you, they're just going to be super spread out, right? So, it's mostly about doing homework and finding where those birds are at.

Mike Brasher: And right now it really doesn't matter because there's not a whole lot of habitat out there right now because it's so dry. And that's kind of what is, and I think it's pretty dry in Missouri also. So, and it's not unlike last year, I think we did some of these, I don't remember if we had you on last year, but we obviously talked to a few people about how dry it was and we were at this point where we said, you know, if you've got water, if you have the capacity to pump or have some miraculous source of other natural water, then you should do pretty well, even during the early season, even absent significant cold outbreaks to move ducks out because we know there's always some ducks that come early regardless of these major weather systems. And I know you go into a lot of this on some of your episodes, but if you've got water, the early season, the way the landscape is looking right now, you ought to do pretty darn good. That situation, that guidance applies every year in some locations, but this is almost like a carbon copy of last year for some of these Mid-South regions, the Gulf Coast region, is certainly an exception. It's different from last year because of how dry it is down there. Great Plains State, it's really dry. Portions of Texas, really dry. Man, there's not a whole lot of habitat out there for the birds right now, at least in terms of water.

Mike Schummer: Yeah, and I think that's a concern, Mike, right? I mean, great for shooting ducks.

Mike Brasher: Yeah, if you got it, yeah.

Mike Schummer: if they get pushed and you got it. I'd rather just see kind of water every… This is always who I am, right?

Mike Brasher: I know.

Mike Schummer: I want to see water everywhere. I want to see ducks do well. I mean, it's got to dry up enough to… But you want hunters to do well too, right?

Mike Brasher: You know?

Mike Schummer: Right, right. Yeah, no, no, no. I want ducks and hunters. It's a trade-off, right? Like, it's sometimes tough, right? Like, the biggest thing you want is a flight to come back to you every single year, no matter what. That should be your goal, right? But you got to balance that with trying to ensure that hunters are satisfied. They're killing birds. Putting food on the grill is fun and shooting ducks is fun. I think that we have to balance this stuff and understand that, yeah, we want healthy birds, but boy, those years when they concentrate and you shoot the heck out of them, It's not a horrible year, you just don't want year after year after year of that.

Mike Brasher: Yeah, that's right. Well, you can't. It's unrealistic. If that's your expectation, then I'm sorry, you're just going to be disappointed more times than not, right?

Mike Schummer: Yeah. And I've said it's on the most recent podcast. And I will plug James Calicut. He works for Mississippi State now. He he went to state when I was a postdoc. He was in my waterfall class. And this kid basically came up with the quote when when Mallards weren't showing up and there were warm years, he said, I don't know what it was. It was it's on my podcast or our podcast, too. It was love the gadwall embrace the shoveler or embrace the shoveler love the gadwall it was one of those but the mallards aren't the mallards might not be coming so there's a lot of good ducks out there and and they make great duck kebabs and and good shooting and good friends and i mean i know green heads are king i still feel that way right like but it might not always happen

Mike Brasher: Mike, let's talk briefly about this weather system that's coming in. You said you kind of under-forecasted the significance of it or the extremeness, the strength of it maybe is a way to say it, in a recent podcast that you released. But what kind of weather system are we dealing with here? You talked about how we're not likely to have as many polar vortex disruptions, and I don't think this is anything like that. What kind of weather system are we dealing with here?

Mike Schummer: So this actually is like an early season polar vortex disruption.

Mike Brasher: I don't mean to burst your bubble. No, that's fine. I misunderstood it then. That's why I ask a question. I'm not the expert.

Mike Schummer: No, no, you're good. So here's the thing. You're like, you're a meteorologist. I'm like, no, I'm a duck biologist that just plays around with weather a lot. It's fine. But in these years where we're going to have a warm year, it's really weird to say, but like as all that stuff equilibrates and settles in on this pattern of being warm, there's a lot of these like bubbly cold things that come out of that. I'm trying to just use kind of like super general talk because half of it is like, I don't understand all of it because I'm not a climatologist. I'm not a meteorologist. I've just studied it pretty well. You're pretty close. Well, you know, I appreciate that. I appreciate that. I dabble in a lot of dark arts, so.

Mike Brasher: Well, we're approaching Halloween, so that's okay.

Mike Schummer: It's fine, right, right. So as we kind of settle in on that pattern of stability where the cold air stays north, we do get a lot of these like little equilibrium type things where where cold air shoots out and of the Arctic and then and then shuts off and it finally settles in on the solution of what it's going to do for the year. And so this is a pretty significant event coming out of I just for folks like Duck Hunter wise, it's like east of the Rockies out of Alberta. I mean, it's a total freeze out event for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, but it's moving way further south than what I thought. I had forecasted the Lake North Dakota, but it's going into Iowa and then it's even moving east next week. So it looks pretty good. You'll hear more about it on on Monday next next Monday morning.

Mike Brasher: Good deal. Well, so if your hunting season is open, the key takeaway, like I said, we're recording this on the 24th of October. We're going to try to get this out on, I think the 26th. If your hunting season is open, if you're in one of those areas where you're going to be experiencing some of this cold weather, I mean, This is one of the times, right, Mike? This is kind of why you got into this. You wanted to be able to use information to improve the chances of spending your time out in the field when you're more likely to be successful. And you're more likely to be successful when you've got something that is causing the birds to move, that's causing new birds to move into your area. And this is certainly one of those times, one of those systems, we kind of have to also kind of give the reminder to folks that, you know, be careful. If you don't put yourself in harm's way, I don't know what kind of wind situation we're looking at with this system, but it doesn't take a whole lot to put yourself in some sort of, you know, perilous environment out on some open water in a small watercraft. So, just be mindful of all that as well. But, you know, this is a great early season opportunity, right, Mike?

Mike Schummer: Yeah, I think this this happened earlier than what a lot of us expected this year. And, you know, I'm just really excited that it's an opportunity for folks at this point in season. I think we've got good movement of birds and early on coming out of a I mean one of the warmer summers we've ever seen across the planet. I wouldn't have predicted this. So I think you're right. I mean watch watch where you're at. Watch what you do. There's high winds coming with it. There's 10 inches of snow coming into places in Montana. So. My comment is, you know, while the getting's good, get after it if you can and do it safely. Yeah, for sure, for sure.

Mike Brasher: Mike, let's move on to a little bit of the new project that you have going. The Fowl Weather Podcast, I really like that name, Fowl, F-O-W-L, Weather Podcast. When did you start this and talk about some of what it is you're trying to accomplish and where can people learn about it? What are they likely kind of information or they're likely to gain from it? Give us sort of an update on a pretty new thing happening in your life there.

Mike Schummer: Yeah, thanks, Mike. It took a long time to really do this. There was, I mean, we talked about, I think I was on when we talked about the YouTube channel I ran a few years ago. And that was kind of like the pilot thing to see if people would be interested. And rather than run it on YouTube, we decided, and I had a lot of requests to do it as a podcast. And then we've got, we have a webpage which has a little bit of extra stuff on it. It's got some duck recipes and things like that to start, right? Some other information about us. It's It's not .com. .com was taken by, I don't know, I think it's like some old like chicken cartoon or something. No way. It's really weird. Yeah. So, is taken. We could have bought it for $20,000, but we decided to go with CO.

Mike Brasher: Oh my goodness. So, we're all good. I double checked that whenever I first saw it. I was like, I need to double check. I think I saw your email associated with that. And I was like, I'm going to double check that email address. And sure enough, it's .co.

Mike Schummer: Yeah, it's because we're running out of stuff. There's too many things on the internet nowadays. So, the impetus for this really was, you know, we were doing something different research wise and trying to inform people about when docs were showing up different than anybody else. And I thought about how busy people are in our schedules. And I'd been using these kind of mathematical algorithms for years that we developed across multiple universities and multiple places. And I really wanted, I mean, I just want people to duck hunt and enjoy their time out there. When they take kids, I want them to see skies filled with ducks. That's never gonna be a guarantee. It's still hunting, right? But if there's a way to provide people with a better opportunity to do it, That's what I wanted to do. And I also wanted to kind of be a voice where we kind of push the envelope and we get a little edgy at times and talk about controversial issues. Because I think that, you know, state and federal agencies should be… that manage these resources should be advocating for duck hunters as the champions of conservation that they are. Like Ducks Unlimited and others. You know, other non-profits that are out there doing the same thing. And I just felt like I had space in my career at this point to push this out the door and just see where it went. I mean, if it falls on its face next year, I'm just going to give up and you'll never hear about it again. And you'll have me on here and I'll be like, well, that sucked. And we just moved on from it, right?

Mike Brasher: Well, if I know duck hunters, I think they're going to find that interesting. I certainly do.

Mike Schummer: Yeah, I appreciate that, Mike. I do. And and so that's what we're trying. You know, we're doing we're doing something different. It's kind of between the, you know, the the average Joe podcast and kind of what you guys you guys do really good with the science and you have great guests on here. And then other folks at the other end are, you know, just Joe public duck hunter, which is awesome. And And I would say what we're trying to do is fit a little bit in between and inform people, entertain people, and then also tell them when the ducks are going to show up, right? Yeah. Mike, I don't want to push this one too much, but like you guys, others give duck reports and there might be a duck alert, but it's like a major, major weather system. You know, like what we're doing is we're pushing out the door a forecast each week, which is a little different from I think what everybody else is

Mike Brasher: Well, and it's a, it's a forecast that's based off of, uh, is it over a decade now? I guess it is probably a decade, over a decade of, of research and empirically, yeah, empirically informed models. And so it's, it, it definitely is different. You and I have talked in the past about, uh, wishing there was a way for us to, to partner. And I think we had more resources we could, but you know, the reality is you just can't do everything that you want to in the timeframe that you want to. So I'm glad to see that you're kind of pushing this forward. There's, there's a, yeah, you talked about the website. It's the, the, the migration reports, those types of things are available on that website.

Mike Schummer: Yeah, they are. And we're also on Spotify and Apple podcast is the Fowl Weather podcast. So, if you just type in the Fowl Weather podcast, F-O-W-L weather podcast, you should, you should find us.

Mike Brasher: Let's see so what else Mike I guess other than other than just saying I'm glad to see you do that and I agree that there is sort of a space there in between what we do but we can't be as as edgy and as you know we have to probably leave a little bit of the entertainment value on the entertainment aspect of it on the table just because we can't be as edgy as we would like to be. And that's okay. That's our space. We work with a tremendous diversity of people. It is one of our core philosophies is to not get at odds with the people that we depend on to do the work that we do. I think that's a great thing and I think that's where I was talking to somebody about this recently. It shows time and again that if you try, if you come into it, if you approach something honestly, wanting to work with someone, you can find common ground even though you might have some differences in some other areas. Or even though there are other ways that you might want to go about trying to address a certain issue, we do it by trying to find that and focusing on that common ground. And so that's understandable that our organization would choose that approach. And it's, yeah, it leaves some opportunity for others out there to be a bit more provocative, push the envelope a little bit. And I think that's a good thing. So kudos to you for kind of seizing that opportunity.

Mike Schummer: Yeah, Mike, I couldn't agree more. I mean, I feel like this is like, people are going to think this is a setup comment and no way is it. I was thinking about this today. I mean, I've traveled all over the place. I've lived in Mississippi, right? I've lived in South Dakota. I've lived in Ontario and Canada. I've been in Manitoba. I've worked in West Virginia, Virginia. I don't even want to start, but two of my wife and I were in like six provinces in like 38 states we've worked in. But the thing we always find is like people are cut from the same thread. And in general, like the DU crowd is cut from the same thread and that we all have that common ground. It's the same thread, but it's a very broad thread. That's what I really appreciate about DU in general, is the great crowd that it attracts. It's just such a solid comment. I mean, it's such a perfect singular comment of, you know, filling skies with ducks and focusing on habitat. And I'll talk a lot about that on the Fall Weather Podcast as well. I mean, we're going to go through like a little bit of a wetland management series as well in the spring. We're going to, I don't know, we might delve into other things weather-wise with deer and turkey as well. I mean, it's got to get broad. I'm going to run out of material. You've been through that in a podcast, right?

Mike Brasher: I don't know, man.

Mike Schummer: So it's not like we can just do ducks and ducks all the time, so.

Mike Brasher: Why not? It's just a matter of how, you know, how fine you slice the topics. I, I think we've, we've diversified some of the topics that we cover partly out of necessity for the capacity, limited capacity that each of our, our co-host has, you know, we've added co-host and that covered different areas. I guess it's a couple of things. One is the fact that we have our host, our co-host have limited capacity. The other is that our audience is broad and has diverse interests. And so those things kind of work hand in hand. But if we wanted to just stick with duck ecology, habitat management or things of that nature, You can find a lot of stuff to talk about depending on how fine you break it down. I think you'd find people would be interested in that. One of my biggest problems is that I always get too far down in the weeds and then I just get bogged down. Yeah, but it is what it is.

Mike Schummer: I think you do a fantastic job with this. And in fact, actually, I think this is the worst we've ever gotten down in the weeds. I think we've been stayed above it most years.

Mike Brasher: Well, let's see, Mike, anything else? I mean, I appreciate the early season forecast. We talked a little bit about El Nino. We didn't really explain what that was. We've talked about it on previous episodes. I know you cover that on one of your episodes, so I encourage folks to seek out some of those episodes and learn about that. We'll try to connect with you here in a few more weeks or a month and a half or so down the road and sort of get another late season forecast. But, uh, and then we've talked about your, your new venture. Congratulations on that. Look forward to following that. Uh, anything else before we, before we say goodbye here?

Mike Schummer: Yeah, not really. I mean, we're covering the next, our seasonal forecast part two, where we, you know, have enough information to really tell you about what's going to happen kind of late December, January at southern latitudes with duck migration. That'll drop on the Fall Weather Podcast on November 6th. But my comment really is just get out there, get after it, and, you know, enjoy the time with family and friends and in the duck blind. In the, you know, the woods and the marshes and everywhere. Everywhere. It's just a great time of year.

Mike Brasher: It is. Yeah. Before we go, you did mention that you stuck a deer. Are you going to try for another? You usually try to put two in the freezer or more?

Mike Schummer: That's funny. That's funny. about that. We, we, we have like 11 doe tags. Oh, okay. Through three, two buck. I don't know. Like I, I think actually, no, we can shoot like 11 deer total here or something. Um, you know, it's in, in central New York, we're in kind of Lake Blaine country. It's, it's pretty decent. There's a lot of deer. Yes, yes, we try to put three in the freezer. So I've got a couple of big bucks running around on camera I'm excited about. They don't wanna show themselves during the day. And yeah, this is a sidebar, Mike, but we've got a dog with like a liver issue from something weird. And so we're gonna put her on a, and she's a machine in the marsh, absolute machine. Folks on my Facebook page, our Facebook page is So you might look up Jaeger. She's an awesome machine. But we're looking at putting her on like a home diet. And I'm pretty sure she could probably eat like two deer a year. So we might have some work to do. There you go.

Mike Brasher: That sounds like an interesting project to follow there. So, I hope she recovers, I hope whatever it is… She seems perfectly fine.

Mike Schummer: It's just like high liver enzyme stuff and we're just trying to get it under control with some different diet.

Mike Brasher: And you've mentioned you've already been able to get out in the marsh a few times. Is y'all season about a third through now? Is that right? Or a little bit more?

Mike Schummer: Not even. It depends on where you're at. Our northern tier opened up early October. We've got a bunch of splits in the. So we'll run through. Oh goodness, don't quote me. We just opened last Saturday and the western zone in the southeast zone. I know I'm pretty sure we run through like November 11th and then we open back up in December. We have a downtime because Our early birds, you know, our wood ducks, our green wings, our pintails, wigeon, we don't get many shovelers here, right? They're all early. And then late, you know, December is our divers and our mallards and our black ducks and our geese mostly. We have a split where we shut down for a few weeks. It's fine because it's like the great part of the rut for bowhunting and such. And then our deer gun season opens around Thanksgiving-ish or so. But our shooting's been great. Our pintails are just off the hook. Awesome. I decoyed this morning. I'm an idiot. I shoot the first pintail I see. I've done this like 800 times. But you don't know how many more you're going to get. Oh, no. I knew I was in a marsh that would have a ton of them. I never shoot like a nice bull's break up here. Like, we don't get them like you guys do down south, right? But we still get like decent looking ones. But I'm like, oh, here's a bird. I'm going to shoot it. I know it's a pintail, and I can shoot one. I did that, and then I decoyed like 60, 70 more pintails within range. So Eastern pintails are, I think I've said this to you before, like Eastern pintails are a thing. I don't think folks realize, you know, everything in the Mid-Continent is awesome. I've lived there, but, you know, we get really good shooting over here and we have, we have, we have a great duck hunting culture still. So I, I think I just want to express how people need to appreciate, you know, duck hunting everywhere.

Mike Brasher: Mike, thank you so much for your time today. Thanks for all that you're doing for the waterfowl resource, whether it be science, conservation, now into communications in a major way. Welcome to the club. Not that you weren't already doing that, but you've taken another step. So I sympathize with you a little bit, knowing what you're getting into. Thank you, Mike.

Mike Schummer: Yes. Yes. Yes. To the nth degree. I have a I'm shooting with with folks out in Ohio starting Thursday and I have to find some way to get my podcast on by Sunday. So, yeah, I get it. I get it. Good. So I really do. And like, honestly, like now that I'm starting to do it more in this thread, I had a feel for where you were at, but it's a heavy lift. You shouldn't have ever dipped your toe in it, by the way.

Mike Brasher: You shouldn't have either, but we both probably are in the same boat of like, it's needed. I mean, there's a need out there. It's the right thing. That's right. Thanks, Mike. We'll catch up with you later. Thank you, sir. Have a great day. A very special thanks to our guest on today's episode, Dr. Mike Schumer with the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. We always appreciate him joining us here and being gracious with his time and expertise. We thank our producer Chris Isaac for the wonderful job he does with the podcast, getting them out to you. And to you, the listener, we thank you for your time. We thank you for supporting our podcast. We thank you for your commitment to wetlands and waterfowl conservation.