DNR sets 60-day, four-duck season (2005-08-03)
Minnesota waterfowl hunters will have a 60-day duck season and four-duck daily bag limit, including one hen mallard, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today.
The duck harvest in the Mississippi Flyway dropped by about 1 million birds last year from 2003. Minnesota's harvest declined 23 percent while Missouri declined 30 percent, Illinois was down 32 percent and Louisiana was down 39 percent.
Minnesota's breeding duck population was the lowest since the drought years of the 1980s, according to annual aerial survey data. Mallards, down 37 percent from 2004, and blue-winged teal, down 45 percent, comprise about two-thirds of the state's duck population.
"We expect the restriction on hen mallards will make hunters more cautious about identifying ducks before they shoot, especially in the early season when ducks are in their summer plumage and harder to identify," said John Guenther, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director. Wisconsin and Michigan have limited hunters to one hen mallard daily for a number of years.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which allows states to set up to a six-bird daily limit, lowered the scaup limit from three to two this year for all flyways in response to continued decline in the continental scaup breeding population. Better nesting success for Eastern Prairie Population (EPP) Canada geese enabled the DNR to add 15 days to the West-Central Goose Zone, extending the season through Thanksgiving. Ten days were added to the statewide goose season.
The waterfowl seasons will open Saturday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m. and continue through Nov. 29. The four duck bag may include no more than one hen mallard, one black duck, one pintail, two wood ducks, two redheads and two scaup. One canvasback will be allowed from Oct. 8 through Nov. 6. Possession limits are twice the daily bag limits.
Except for opening day, when shooting hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., shooting hours will be from one half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. daily through Saturday, Oct. 8, and from one half hour before sunrise to sunset beginning Sunday, Oct. 9, through the close of the season.
New this year, motorized decoys or other motorized devices designed to attract migratory birds may not be used from the opening day of duck season through Saturday, Oct. 8. Motorized decoys or other motorized devices designed to attract migratory birds may not be used at any time during the season on water bodies and lands fully contained within state wildlife management area boundaries.
Details on the duck, goose and migratory bird hunting seasons will be available in the 2005 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations Supplement, distributed in early September.
YOUTH WATERFOWL DAY
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day will be Saturday, Sept. 17. Hunters age 15 and under may take regular season bag limits including one canvasback when accompanied by a non-hunting adult (age 18 and older, no license required). Canada geese, mergansers, coots and moorhens may be taken from one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. Motorized decoy restrictions are in effect. Five geese may be taken, except in the Metro, Southeast and Northwest goose zones and Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area and Swan Lake area, where the bag limit is one. There are no license requirements, except hunters age 13 to 15 must have a firearms safety certificate in their possession. All other migratory bird hunting regulations apply.
Minnesota's regular goose season will open in conjunction with the duck season on Saturday, Oct. 1, except for Canada goose seasons in the West-Central Goose Zone, which will open on Thursday, Oct. 20. The daily bag limit will be one goose in the Northwest, West-Central and West zones. Two geese may be taken in the remainder of the state, including the Metro and Southeast zones. Possession limits are double the daily bag limits.
Early September Goose Season
The early Canada goose season will open statewide on Saturday, Sept. 3. The September season is designed to harvest as many Minnesota-breeding geese as possible. Hunter survey results show about 36 percent of Minnesota's goose harvest occurs during the early September season. The early season is open through Thursday, Sept. 22, except in the Northwest Zone where it is open through Sept. 15. Bag limits for Canada geese will be five per day, except for the Southeast Zone, where the bag limit will be two.
A $4 permit, valid for both early and late season goose hunting, is required. Permits are available wherever hunting and angling licenses are sold.
The restriction prohibiting hunting within 100 yards of surface water remains in effect in the Northwest, Southeast, and Metro goose zones, the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area and an area surrounding Swan Lake in Nicollet County. Early season goose hunters should consult the 2005 Hunting Regulations Handbook for details.
Regular Goose Season
The regular Canada goose season will be 40 days in the Northwest and West goose zones, from Oct. 1 through to Nov. 9. The daily bag limit will be one Canada goose in these zones.
In the West-Central Zone, the 40 day regular Canada goose season will be Oct. 20 to Nov. 28. The daily bag limit will be one Canada goose.
The remainder of Minnesota, including the Metro and Southeast zones, will have a 70 day Canada goose season from Oct. 1 to Dec. 9, with a bag limit of two Canada geese daily.
Late Goose Seasons
December Canada goose seasons will be offered statewide except in the West-Central Goose Zone. Late season hunters must have a $4 permit, which is valid for both early and late special goose seasons. The late season will be open Dec. 10 to Dec. 19, except in the Southeast Goose Zone, where the season will be open Dec. 15 to Dec. 24.
Bag limits for Canada geese during the late season will be five per day, except in the Southeast Goose Zone, where the bag limit will be two.
The season for light geese (snow, blue and Ross' geese), white-fronted geese, and brant will be Oct. 1. to Dec. 24. The daily limit will be 20 light geese, one white fronted goose and one brant.