Minnesota waterfowl season dates and limits announced
With continental populations of many species of ducks again near record highs, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has established a 60-day duck season that opens Oct. 3 with a daily bag limit of six ducks.
Bag limits for most species will be the same as last season, except hunters will be able to harvest one canvasback and the scaup limit will be two for the entire 60-day season. This good news for diver duck hunters is based on increased numbers of canvasbacks and scaup in the continental breeding duck survey.
Based on an increase in breeding waterfowl populations and pond numbers across Canada and the northern plains, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering states in the Mississippi Flyway, including Minnesota, a 60-day season that could include a six-duck limit with two hen mallards and three wood ducks. Minnesota will continue with a daily bag limit of one hen mallard that has been in place since 2005. Likewise, the DNR is maintaining a conservative approach to wood ducks by maintaining a two-bird limit.
The bag limits will continue to protect local breeding mallard and wood duck populations and will provide more opportunity for Minnesota hunters to benefit from high continental waterfowl populations if habitat conditions and weather cooperate, and migrant ducks move through the state in ample numbers.
"We knew the wood duck limit would be of interest to our hunters," said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. "So we reviewed the biological information, took some additional public input through a new online questionnaire, and in the end decided to maintain the two-bird limit again this year."
The regular waterfowl season will open Saturday, Oct. 3, at 9 a.m. and continue through Tuesday, Dec. 1. The six-duck bag may include no more than four mallards, with only one hen mallard, and one black duck, one pintail, one canvasback, two wood ducks, two redheads and two scaup. Possession limits remain at 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. 10, and from one_half hour before sunrise to sunset thereafter.
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. 10. 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.
Additional details on the duck, goose and migratory bird hunting seasons will be in the 2009 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations, available in mid-August.
YOUTH WATERFOWL DAY
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day will be Saturday, Sept. 19. Hunters age 15 and under may take regular season bag limits when accompanied by a nonhunting 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. New for this year, five geese may be taken statewide. There are no license requirements, except hunters age 13 to 15 must have a firearms safety certificate or an apprentice hunter validation 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. 3, except for Canada goose seasons in the West-Central Goose Zone, which will open on Thursday, Oct. 15. The daily bag limit will be two Canada geese statewide. Possession limits are double the daily bag limits. Efforts to increase Minnesota's daily goose bag to three statewide except for the West Central Goose Zone were not approved by the Mississippi Flyway Council.
EARLY SEPTEMBER GOOSE SEASON
The early Canada goose season will open statewide on Saturday, Sept. 5. The September season is designed to harvest Minnesota-breeding geese prior to the arrival of migrant geese. Hunter survey results show about 36 percent of Minnesota's goose harvest occurs during the early September season. The early season is open statewide through Tuesday, Sept. 22. Bag limits for Canada geese will be five per day, statewide.
A required $4 permit is valid for both early and late season goose hunting. Permits are available wherever hunting and angling licenses are sold.
New this year, the restriction prohibiting hunting within 100 yards of surface water has been lifted for the Southeast and Metro goose zones. Now this restriction applies only to the Northwest goose zone, the Carlos Avery WMA and an area surrounding Swan Lake in Nicollet County. Early season goose hunters should consult the 2009 Waterfowl Supplement for details.
Regular Goose Season
In the West Central Zone, the regular Canada goose season will be open from Oct. 15 through Oct .18, and from Oct. 24 through Nov. 29. In the remainder of the state the season will be open from Oct. 3 through Dec. 11. The daily bag limit will be two Canada geese.
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. 12 to Dec. 21, except in the Southeast Goose Zone, where the season will be open Dec. 19 to Dec. 28.
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) and brant will be Oct. 3 through Dec. 28, with a daily limit of 20 light geese and one brant. The season for white-fronted geese will be Oct. 3 through Dec. 27, with a daily limit of one white-fronted goose.