41913 - Red River mallard drake head close

There are a few changes to Minnesota’s upcoming waterfowl season.  A few were unexpected and a few things that were expected didn’t happen.

First, the new stuff: 

1) Possession limit is now three times the daily bag limit.  This allows you to take a trip somewhere and be legal if you hunt for three days.  It used to be two times the daily bag.   This change was made at the federal level.


2) The daily bag limit for canvasbacks is now 2 per day.  It used to be 1.

3) The daily bag limit for scaup (bluebills) is now 3 per day, instead of 4.

Resident geese will be targeted for an early goose season again this fall.
Resident geese will be targeted for an early goose season again this fall.

4) The daily bag limit for canada geese during the September season is now 10 in the intensive harvest zone.  Click here for the map.

5) Open water hunting will be allowed on some lakes.  This is a first since 1915.  (Lake Pepin, Lake of the Woods and Lake Mille Lacs: Open water hunting is allowed as long as the boat remains anchored.  Lake Superior also allows it on MN waters north and east of the MN/Park Point Peninsula as long as boats are anchored.

6) Lac qui Parle controlled hunting will no longer need reservations.   Daily blind drawings will be in effect from Thursday, Oct. 17, to Saturday, Nov. 30.  Just show up at the LqP office for the drawing at 6am.

8913 - game fair day 1-63

One thing that I expected to see changed was the use of motorized decoys during the first two weeks of the season.  Everyone I spoke with, including those at the DNR, had expressed opinions that the rule would be changed this season.  That’s not the case, as you are still not allowed to use them during the youth waterfowl day (Sep 7) through Oct 5.  After that it is allowed on private land, but not on public land.  Motorized spinning wing decoys probably aren’t needed those first two weeks anyway as ducks should decoy fairly well.  But not being allowed to use them on public land for any part of the season seems like an outdated rule that we were surprised remained in place for this season.

I’ve also wondered at the 4pm closure rule.  (9/21 – 10/4)  I don’t mind allowing the ducks a respite in the evening, but again, the fewer opportunities a duck hunter has, the more likely it is that he won’t go.  They did change the opening day start to 1/2 before sunrise, so shooting times are something that they’ve been looking at over the last few years.

The three-zoned season will take place again this year and I think the DNR made a great choice with that.  I understand some people can get a little confused, but that’s why it’s a good idea to keep a copy of the regs book with you and ask questions if you don’t know.   The three zones allow hunters in the south to continue hunting when the migration moves through.  There is no point in having the season open in the north when things freeze up and the ducks move to southern Minnesota.   Here are the dates:

Northern Zone: 9/21 – 11/19

Central Zone: 9/21 – 9/29, then a closure until 10/5 – 11/24.  This allows you to stay open a week later

Southern Zone: 9/21 – 9/29, then a 2 week closure.  10/12 – 12/1

Daily bag limits are 6 ducks, with the following breakdowns.

4 Mallards (max 2 hens), 3 scaup, 3 wood ducks, 2 pintails, 2 redheads, 1 blackduck, 2 canvasbacks.  If not listed, a total of 6 is allowed.

Remember, pick up a copy of the regs, or print out a version of them here. 

Shay and Mika on their first day waterfowl hunting (2011 Youth opener)
Shay and Mika on their first day waterfowl hunting (2011 Youth opener)

Take a kid out for youth waterfowl day on September 7th.

On Sept. 7, 2013, waterfowl hunters age 15 and younger, when accompanied
by a non-hunting adult (age 18 and older, no license required) may take
ducks, Canada geese, mergansers, coots and moorhens from one-half hour before
sunrise to 4 p.m. Motorized decoy restrictions are in effect. Bag limits are the same
as the regular duck season. Five Canada geese may be taken statewide. Hunters
ages 13 to 15 must have a firearms safety certificate or apprentice hunter validation
in their possession. All other migratory bird hunting regulations apply.

Good luck and we’ll see you in the field!

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