New Minnesota Waterfowl Regulations Released

Experimental early teal season in place, shooting hours extended for 2021 waterfowl hunt

*Updated 9/3/21 12:12pm

Clarification on Early Teal season shooting hours:

Hunting for Teal during the early season begins at SUNRISE and ends at SUNSET. Shooting times for geese remains at one half hour before sunrise and ends at sunset the entire season, including during the Early Teal Season.

*Updated 8/31/21 12:56pm

From MN DNR Sources:

Both Leech Lake and White Earth Reservations are closed to Teal hunting and overwater Goose hunting. This is expected to impact thousands of hunters. This affects areas such as Winnibigoshish Lake, Bowstring Lake, Cass Lake, Mississippi River, Upper Rice Lake, portions of Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and more.

More information to be found here:

*Updated 8/31/21

From Leech Lake News:

CASS LAKE, MN- The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (LLBO) Division of Resource Management issued public notice today that Manoomin (wild rice) waters within the exterior boundaries of the Leech Lake Reservation will be closed to hunters participating in the MN DNR’s early teal and goose seasons. READ MORE….

*Updated 7/27/21

Hunters looking for duck and goose season dates and regulations can find the information they need in the 2021 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations handbook, available on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website and in August wherever DNR licenses are sold. The early Canada goose season and experimental teal season begin Saturday, Sept. 4, and the regular duck and goose season opens Saturday, Sept. 25.

The DNR has adopted several changes to state waterfowl hunting regulations for 2021, including implementing a five-day early teal season, increasing the bag limit for dark geese, extending legal shooting hours to sunset, allowing statewide over-water goose hunting during the early September season, and changing seasons dates in the south duck zone with a five day split instead of 12 days. Additionally, motorized spinning-wing decoys may be used statewide during the early teal season and throughout the entire waterfowl season, including on wildlife management areas.


Hunters have a new opportunity to harvest up to six teal during an experimental five-day early teal season and shooting hours will continue until sunset rather than ending at 4 p.m. during the first portion of Minnesota’s waterfowl hunting season.

Other changes to waterfowl hunting regulations for the 2021 season include increasing the bag limit for dark geese from three to five per day, reducing the 12-day season split in the south zone to a five-day split and opening four areas where over-water goose hunting was restricted.

Waterfowl hunting season dates this coming fall will be:

  • Saturday, Sept. 25, through Tuesday, Nov. 23 in the north zone.
  • Saturday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 9, through Sunday, Nov. 28, in the south and central zones.

A five-day early teal season from Saturday, Sept. 4, through Wednesday, Sept. 8, will allow an additional opportunity to hunt teal that otherwise would have migrated south by opening day of waterfowl season on Sept. 25. Hunters may shoot up to six birds. Blue, green-winged and cinnamon teal may be taken in any combination from sunrise to sunset during the experimental early season.

“There was some concern expressed about establishing an early teal season so the experimental approach the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires allows the DNR to carefully evaluate impacts,” said Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We’ll assess the season this year and can renew it for up to two years.”

The DNR does not anticipate that this increase in harvest will negatively impact the teal population or hunter experience on opening day but will carefully evaluate season results and gather additional public input to guide future decisions on continuing the early teal season.

Goose hunting changes allow hunters to take up to five Canada, white-fronted or Brant geese in any combination each day. Over-water hunting in September, which has been in place for most of Minnesota already, now is allowed in the Carlos Avery and Swan Lake wildlife management areas as well as the Ocheda Lake game refuge and the northwest goose zone.

With the exception of the early teal season, waterfowl season changes the DNR made this year eased or removed regulations that were implemented long ago. Considerable research, topical outreach and public engagement efforts to gather information and ideas were critical parts of the process. Those efforts included an online survey, direct staff outreach, a hunter attitude survey and public comments on proposed regulations.

“Hunting is only one aspect of waterfowl management in Minnesota,” Cordts said. “Our work to conserve, improve and acquire waterfowl habitat has a more significant impact on waterfowl populations and the land’s ability to support them.”

Initial details of the 2021 waterfowl regulations including a zone map are available online at Information about waterfowl management in Minnesota is available at

Watch and listen to some of our conversations leading up to these changes here:

Leave a Reply