DNR: Weekly waterfowl migration report kickoff
The following report is a compilation of state and federal wildlife manager reports and waterfowl surveys from across Minnesota. This is the first report for 2018. Reports will be compiled weekly throughout the hunting season.
Duck hunters were expected to see good numbers of ducks present in most areas this past weekend for the opener based on reports from state and federal wildlife managers. Blue-winged teal, wood ducks, and mallards should dominate hunters’ bags in most areas; ring-necked ducks should be more common in the north zone. Some migrant green-winged teal and ring-necked ducks have been noted this week.
The number of breeding ducks in Minnesota was 9 percent above last year’s estimate and 12 percent above the long-term average. In the continental waterfowl surveys, total duck abundance was 13 percent lower than last year but 17 percent above the long-term average. Waterfowl production (number of young hatched) was thought to be good in Minnesota based on anecdotal field reports.
The early September goose season was poor to fair statewide. The late spring and April snowstorms negatively impacted nesting Canada geese so goose production was low. Some molt migrant geese have returned to the state over the past week which should improve goose hunting success. These are non-breeding and unsuccessful geese that migrate to Canada in early summer to molt (replace their flight feathers) and return to Minnesota in September.
Water levels are fairly dry in the northern portion of the state but good across most of the rest of the state so access should not be an issue for most hunters. With the heavy rains this week, many areas in southern Minnesota will have flooded areas in fields that should be very attractive to ducks. Wild rice production was fair this year, with poor rice production on lakes mainly in the northeast. Small grain harvest is complete and some soybean harvest has started.
Temperatures opening weekend were mostly warm for this time of year; below-average temperatures are expected most of this week.