First-ever August goose season off to sluggish start

Watson, Minn. — Before it opened Saturday, nearly every conversation about the August Canada goose season included talk of mosquitoes. Count Dave Trauba among those worried about the biting insects.

“When I first thought about August goose hunting, I pictured it being 90 degrees and being tormented by mosquitoes,” said Trauba, manager at the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area. “But it felt like September out there. You couldn’t have asked for a better opening weekend, for August, anyway.”

Trauba was among an unknown number of hunters who took part in the opening day of the state’s first-ever August season for Canada geese, which began Saturday and runs through Aug. 25.

Officials have no way of knowing yet how many hunters went afield, or how many geese they killed. Based on reports from conservation officers, the season got off to a slow start in many areas of the Intensive Harvest Zone, that part of the state open during the August season.

And Steve Cordts hadn’t heard much about it on Monday.

“My guess is it was pretty much a non-event,” said Cordts, the DNR’s waterfowl specialist.

Trauba, who hunted around Lac qui Parle, was surprised by the number of hunters out.

“There wasn’t a lot of field-hunting opportunities,” he said. “Most of the wheat was still in the fields, though there were some oats out. So that put a lot of people on the water.”

Those hunting over water likely were targeting birds coming back from feeding forays in nearby fields.

Trauba heard a number of shots, and killed some birds himself. He didn’t hear of anyone who shot a 10-bird limit, but believes hunters had opportunities.

He believes the upcoming weekend may be even better than the first, since “the birds are starting to shift a little bit, and the wheat is coming out pretty hard now.

“It will get better now that the wheat is coming out,” he said.

Following are reports from COs around the state:

• There were few geese or hunters in the Crookston area.
• Hunter numbers in the Moorhead area were low, but those who hunted killed some geese.
• There were few hunters in the Fergus Falls area, and few fields available for hunting.
• There weren’t many hunters in the Morris area, and those who hunted targeted small ponds and other water bodies, given small-grain fields hadn’t been harvested.
• Some field-hunting groups in the Buffalo area had six to eight birds, but those hunting over water had between zero and two.
• Hunters had limited success in the Waconia area, with many never shooting their guns.
• Hunters killed few birds in the Ortonville area.
• There were vulnerable flocks of geese in the Benson area, but they were largely undisturbed thanks to light hunting pressure.

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