Have thoughts on duck bag limits, season length, spinning-wing decoys, the youth waterfowl hunt, a state duck recovery plan or other waterfowl issues or regulations?
The DNR is soliciting comments from hunters at a series of public meetings being held Thursday around the state. All the meetings are scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. at 18 locations. DNR wildlife managers will be present at each of the meetings to provide information and answer questions. The meetings will include a video presentation, survey form and discussion time.
Duck issues meeting sites
Here are the DNR meeting locations for April 28 (all are from 7 to 9 p.m.):
• St. Paul: DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Rd.
• Albert Lea: Riverland Community & Technical College, 2200 Riverland Dr.
• Alexandria: Alexandria Technical College, 1601 Jefferson St.
• Bemidji: Bemidji State University, 1500 Birchmont Drive NE, Hagg-Sauer Building.
• Brainerd: Central Lakes College, 501 W. College Dr.
• Detroit Lakes: Minnesota State Community and Technical College, 900 Hwy. 34 E.
• Duluth: Lake Superior College, 2101 Trinity Rd.
• East Grand Forks: Northland Community and Technical College, 2022 Central Av. NE.
• Fergus Falls: Minnesota State Community and Technical College, 1414 College Way.
• Grand Rapids: Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, 402 S.E. 11th St.
• Granite Falls: Minnesota West Community & Technical College, 1593 11th Av.
• Hutchinson: Ridgewater College, 2 Century Ave. S.E.
• North Mankato: South Central Technical College, 1920 Lee Blvd.
• Marshall: Southwest Minnesota State University, 1501 State St.
• St. Cloud: Americana Inn, Hwy. 10.
• Thief River Falls: Northland Community & Technical College, 1101 Highway 1 E.
• Virginia: Mesabi Range Community and Technical College, 1001 Chestnut St. W.
• Winona: Minnesota State College, Southeast Technical, 1250 Homer Rd.
Minnesota's duck hunters are at least getting opportunities to voice their concerns over the status of wetlands and waterfowl.
Next week they can offer input on this fall's duck season regulations, comment on a duck recovery plan and learn more about habitat issues at a series of special meetings set by the Department of Natural Resources.
All are scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. April 28 at 18 locations around the state.
The purpose is two-fold.
"We want to know the pulse of the public on bag limits, season length, zones and split seasons, spinning-wing decoys, the youth waterfowl hunt and various waterfowl regulation options, including over-the-water Canada goose hunting in the early seasons," said John Guenther, director of the DNR's Fish and Wildlife Division.
Some type of survey will be taken at the meetings, officials said.
The DNR also wants to share information on habitat, populations and regulations "so that those who attend have a deeper understanding of the issues and what needs to occur to make a difference," Guenther said.
For example, DNR officials said at the recent annual waterfowl symposium in St. Cloud that reducing the daily bag limit, now six, to five would only reduce harvest by 2 percent. And reducing the daily bag to four ducks would only reduce harvest by 5 percent.
Part of the reason is that few hunters actually shoot six-bird limits, officials said, based on annual hunter surveys. In fact, 45 percent of the time hunters shoot zero ducks.
"It would take fairly drastic reductions [in the daily bag limit] to significantly reduce the harvest," said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl biologist.
The DNR plans to develop a comprehensive duck recovery plan by December, with input from various conservation groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Citizens can discuss elements of the plan at the duck meetings.
"There's a lot of energy around wetlands, waterfowl and clean water right now," Guenther said. "These meetings are one way the DNR can help sustain that energy and perhaps even build more. And that's important because despite all of the work that we and our conservation partners accomplish, it is not enough."
The meetings will include a 30-minute video presentation. Officials are still working on a way for people who can't attend the meetings to offer their input.
I am sure a few of you will not be able to make the duck meetings tonight or maybe not be able to speak at them if well attended. I know I will not be able to make it being I am on the committee of a banquet that is being held at the same time.
So here is what you can do. What ever your opinion is on ducks and duck hunting, vioce it about hunting season, bag limits, spinners, motors, split season, hunting zones, etc..... Just write it down and email Ray Norrgard who is the head Waterfowl guy for the DNR. Please make sure to include your full name and complete address in the email.
Here is Rays email addy: Ray.Norrgard@state.mn.us