DNR waterfowl hunting report: Hunters should see increased species diversity
Waterfowl hunters should see increased species diversity this week as more migrant ducks move into the state, the Minnesota DNR said in its weekly waterfowl migration and hunting report.
Green-winged teal, wigeon, gadwall, and redheads should become more common and larger numbers of ring-necked ducks should be present by next week.
Water levels remain fairly dry in the northern portion of the state but good to excellent across most of the rest of the state. Many areas in southern Minnesota still have flooded areas in fields from the rains last week that should continue to be attractive to ducks. Small grain harvest is complete and some corn and soybean harvest has started.
The weather outlook for this weekend calls for highs in the 40s in northern Minnesota with lows near freezing. In southern Minnesota, highs should be in the mid 50s with lows in the 40s. The long-term forecast calls for daytime high temperatures to remain 5-10 degrees below average with considerable rain next week and some chance for snow in northern areas.
The waterfowl season in the Central and South zones closes on Sunday.
Duck hunters had a good opening weekend across the state. Blue-winged teal, wood ducks, and mallards were the most common birds in hunters’ bags in most areas; ring-necked ducks and green-winged teal were also common on some lakes.
The number of ducks/hunters at different locations across the state on opening day in 2018 compared to 2017 was: Lac qui Parle WMA (2.6 vs. 2.6); Swan Lake (Nicollet county) (2.0 vs. 2.0); Thief Lake WMA (3.3 vs. 3.5); Big Rice (Remer) (1.8 vs. 1.4); Big White Oak (2.1 vs. 1.9); Mud Goose WMA (2.7 vs. 2.2); Roseau WMA (2.0 vs. 2.4); Carlos Avery WMA (2.4 vs. 2.6); Canosia WMA (0.8 vs. 1.0). Both Thief Lake WMA and Carlos Avery WMA recorded their second-highest ducks/hunter totals on opening day, while most other areas were above their long-term averages.
The number of state waterfowl stamps sold through opening weekend was 62,177, which was 4 percent lower than last year’s total of 64,576 and the lowest number on record.
The above report is a compilation of state and federal wildlife manager reports and waterfowl surveys from across Minnesota. This is the second report for 2018; reports will be compiled weekly throughout the hunting season.