Duck hunting is expected to be good when Minnesota’s regular waterfowl season opens a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 24.
“The abundance of breeding ducks in Minnesota and North America has been good in recent years, so we hope that results in good opportunities for duck hunters this fall,” said Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Wetland habitat conditions are fairly good across the state and with a little help from Mother Nature with some favorable fall weather, it could be a good season.”
Duck seasons and limits
The duck season structure is similar to recent years. The waterfowl seasons are based on a federal framework that applies to all states in the Mississippi Flyway. Waterfowl hunting regulations are available wherever DNR licenses are sold and online.
Duck season will be open for 60 days in each of the three waterfowl zones:
- In the north zone, duck season is Sept. 24 through Tuesday, Nov. 22.
- In the central zone, duck season is Sept. 24 through Sunday, Oct. 2, closes for five days, then reopens Saturday, Oct. 8, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 27.
- In the south zone, duck season is Sept. 24 through Oct. 2, closes for 12 days, then reopens Saturday, Oct. 15, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 4.
The daily duck bag limit remains six per day. The mallard bag limit remains four per day, including two hen mallards. The daily bag limits remain at three for wood duck and scaup; and two for pintails, redheads and canvasbacks.
The DNR will post a weekly waterfowl migration report each week during the duck season. The reports are typically posted on Thursdays on the waterfowl hunting page.
Goose and sandhill crane seasons
Minnesota’s goose season will re-open in conjunction with the duck season statewide on Sept. 24, with a bag limit of three dark geese per day the entire season. “Dark” geese include Canada geese, white-fronted geese and brant. Goose season will be closed in the central and south duck zones when duck season is closed.
The season for sandhill cranes remains open through Sunday, Oct. 16, in the northwest goose and sandhill crane zone only. The daily bag limit will be one sandhill crane per day. A $3 sandhill crane permit is required in addition to a small game hunting license.
More information on duck, goose, sandhill crane and other migratory bird hunting is available in the 2016 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations booklet from license vendors and online on the waterfowl hunting page.
Lake of the Woods offers excellent waterfowl hunting. Goose hunters have already been taking to the fields for the early goose hunt. Good success so far with much of the hunting season and migration to come.
Duck hunters enjoy a combination of puddle ducks and divers. Some of the ducks are locals, some are migrating and flying through from the north.
A good number of waterfowl hunters take advantage of the short fall season by hunting in the morning and walleye fishing in the afternoon. A true Lake of the Woods cast and blast.
Others will hit the thousands of acres of public hunting forest in search of the abundant ruffed grouse, spruce grouse and sharp tailed grouse.
Good luck to all hunters!