Amazing when they need to fully focus on getting and keeping ducks in minnesota they still on after this issue. Did they not get the memo that hunters are pissed off. I dont care how effective these things are if you have not ducks they dont do any good anyway. Now I know why i decided I wont hunt minnesota anymore after this last year. The dnr speant like 175,000 on the first spinning wing study when it should have been concentrating on habitat. As much as I like the idea of a rally I am sure we will here the same old song and dance. Unless people actually boycott a season to hit them in the pocked books the government is not doing to do a damn thing.
Tighter motorized decoy rules possible
DNR postpones duck summit
By Joe Albert
Breezy Point, Minn. — Waterfowl hunters who use motorized spinning-wing decoys to lure ducks on state-managed wildlife management areas could be out of luck next season.
Under a proposal outlined at last weekend’s roundtable meetings, the DNR wouldn’t allow those spinning-wing decoys in waters or lands within WMAs during the duck hunting season.
Also, motorized spinning-wing decoys wouldn’t be allowed anytime between the duck opener and the Saturday nearest Oct. 8. And the DNR commissioner, through rulemaking, could designate other waters to be closed to the decoys, said Ed Boggess, DNR fish and wildlife policy section chief.
The three proposals, outlined at the waterfowl-heavy Wildlife Roundtable on Saturday, all need legislative approval.
“I expect they will be fairly controversial,” Boggess said. “There are a lot of people using these decoys and they have invested a lot in their use.”
Arkansas recently banned the use of motorized spinning-wing decoys, and Minnesota has data showing the decoys are more effective than traditional decoying methods.
A Minnesota study showed hunters were nearly five times more effective at taking mallards when their spinning-wing decoys were turned on versus when they were turned off.
The DNR hears often from hunters who describe their futile attempts to use traditional decoy methods when hunters in the same area use spinning-wing decoys, Boggess said.
“We are trying to provide some areas where people can exercise some more traditional techniques,” Boggess said.
Among other waterfowl topics the DNR is presenting in its legislative bill:
•Prohibit leaving decoys unattended for more than two hours on public water.
•Clarify that it is legal to hunt waterfowl on narrow streams or rivers while not in emergent vegetation.
Boggess’ legislative update came before Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist in Bemidji, and Ray Norrgard, DNR wetland wildlife program leader, gave presentations on Minnesota’s duck population and habitat picture.
The populations of mallards and blue-winged teal are up compared to historic averages, and the total number of breeding ducks in Minnesota this year was high, Cordts said.
The scaup population is lower than average, and ringnecks were seen in good numbers on the state’s refuges. In general, Cordts said it’s hard to look at breeding numbers and say ducks are in trouble in Minnesota, yet he called the early season duck hunt “fair to below average,” then said, “Things tailed off as the season progressed.”
Cordts said there must be an effort to increase the state’s habitat. The health of the state’s wetland complexes was underestimated, Norrgard said.
“We face tremendous losses in both wetlands and grasslands,” Norrgard said. Grasslands are in even worse shape than wetlands, he said.
Said Ron Harnack, executive director of the Board of Water and Soil Resources: “The bottom line is we need more habitat.”
A waterfowl meeting — originally tabbed as a waterfowl summit — has been postponed, the DNR announced at the roundtable.
As of last week, the agency was planning to convene a meeting in February of a couple dozen waterfowl experts and other leaders. That group would have figured a way to involve a larger number of waterfowl enthusiasts and conservationists, possibly in a summit format, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division Director John Guenther said last week.
However, the DNR said it needed to put more thought into a meeting so it would have more impact. There will be a meeting before the duck rally planned for April 2, but not in February, the DNR said.
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Jan 14, 2005