DNR announces fall duck and goose seasons
Minnesota’s waterfowl season will open a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 27, under a similar season structure to last year, with similar bag limits and with season dates that vary for north, central and southern zones, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
The waterfowl seasons are based on a federal framework that applies to all states in the Mississippi Flyway.
“While the season structure is similar to recent years, there is an adjustment in the duck season dates in the south duck zone,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist.
In the south duck zone, hunting opens for three days from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Monday, Sept. 29, and then closes. The season then reopens from Saturday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Dec. 6.
In all zones, the daily bag limit remains at six ducks per day. The mallard bag limit remains at four per day, including two hen mallards. The wood duck bag limit remains at three per day. The only bag limit change from the 2013 waterfowl season is the canvasback limit, which decreases from two to one per day.
Minnesota and three other states in the Mississippi Flyway had the option of including two additional blue-winged teal in the daily bag limit (bonus blue-winged teal).
“We thought the risk that green-winged teal might be taken by mistake was too great,” said Paul Telander, DNR wildlife section chief. “In addition, we did not get a chance to survey waterfowl hunters or take any form of public input related to bonus teal. We plan to do that within the next year.”
Mallard abundance from a continental spring survey that includes Minnesota is used to set overall duck season length. This year’s estimate was 11 million mallards, which was similar to last year’s estimate of 10.8 million mallards and well above the long-term average.
In another measure of Minnesota duck populations, a population index of resident breeding mallards was down slightly from last year, but 13 percent above the long-term average.
“Continental breeding duck numbers were good this year, and following heavy rains in the spring, wetland conditions in the major waterfowl breeding areas were favorable,” Cordts said.
Additional details on the duck, goose, sandhill crane, and other migratory bird hunting seasons will be available in the 2014 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations, available in mid-August in booklet form and online atwww.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.