If you planned on hunting waterfowl on public land, think again…

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The Government’s shutdown will have a rippling effect across Minnesota that will affect everything from Social Security services to hunting.

All 76 State Parks will remain open according the MN DNR website.

But some Federal lands, such as Waterfowl Production Areas and Federal Refuges are closed due to the shutdown.

Waterfowl Specialist with the Minnesota DNR, Steve Cortds added, “Best I can tell,  all Federal Lands are closed to all activities, which include hunting, fishing, etc.  This would include all WPAs in MN but also Natl. Forests, etc.  All of the NWRs are closed, but most of them in MN have gates and have no/limited hunting.”

As far as enforcement goes, there was an unconfirmed report that some hunters in North Dakota were forced to leave a section of federal land that they were hunting on.

Hopefully, the shutdown won’t last much longer as many hunters rely on public lands for hunting and bird numbers seem to be pretty good at the moment.  Add in a forecasted front for this weekend and hunters could be left out in the “cold” when it comes to hunting the migrating ducks.

Boundary Waters enthusiasts can rest assured that they’ll still be able to access the BWCAW.  I asked Mike Drilling at Voyager Canoe Outfitters on the Gunflint Trail what impact this might have.

“At this moment, it doesn’t have a significant impact, even with the Forest Service offices closed.  As of October first, people are not required to go through them to get a permit.  They can issue self-permits.”

I could editorialize about the effects of a Government Shutdown, but I won’t.  All I will say is that we wait all year for hunting season to get here and to have something like this affect what lands we can hunt on is ridiculous.  Wait-was that an editorial comment?

The waterfowl season is currently open in the northern zone, with the central zone opening back up on Saturday and the southern zone closed until it opens back up October 12th.

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Motorized decoy restrictions are in place through Saturday October 5th on any lands.  After, motorized decoy use on water bodies and lands fully contained within State Wildlife Management areas are also prohibited.

For all the waterfowl regulations, visit here.


  1. Most of the land we duck hunt on is county or state. It concerns me that we might have a problem when we go up north, since we’ll be hunting adjacent to the Nicolet National Forest. But we’ll have to be careful for stay on private land.

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