Slow start for dove and goose hunters

Glenwood, Minn. — John Schroers hunted for doves in the Glenwood area Sunday, which marked opening day for the little birds. It also marked the opening of the early Canada goose season.

“We saw more geese than doves,” said Schroers, of Shakopee. “We could have limited out, as the geese were coming right over the hay bales we used for dove hunting.”

Alas, Schroers didn’t have permission to kill geese, so he just watched them fly. But many other hunters throughout the state would have killed geese, if only they had opportunities.

“I think we heard five shots all morning,” Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist, said of his Monday morning hunt in the Bemidji area. He never fired a shot. The reason: “Low numbers of geese.”

There were some hunters who had success.

“We did well,” said Mark Evers, whose group of seven killed 21 geese south of Tracy.

But Evers’ experience, based on conservation officer reports, was fairly rare.

  • Goose hunters in the Moorhead area reported seeing fewer geese than during past openers.
  • There were few hunters in the Pelican Rapids area, and those who were out complained about low goose numbers.
  • Hunters had moderate success in the Alexandria area.
  • In the Willmar area, there were few hunters and few geese.

CO Rick Reller, who patrols the Buffalo area, reported the August goose season may have wrought havoc on the early goose opener.

“Early goose hunters found getting geese to decoy was much harder after the August season in Wright County,” he wrote in his weekly report.

For Schroers, the doves were the saving grace on Monday, when he hunted near his home.

“We did a sandpit hunt on Monday and we shot three geese,” he said. “But we also shot 45 doves.”

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