DNR: Two, not three, wood ducks for hunters
Federal law allows for three, but the state says no.
By DOUG SMITH, Star Tribune
Minnesota duck hunters will be allowed to shoot two wood ducks in the daily bag this season, not three as allowed by federal officials.
“We just didn’t see a reason to go from two to three,” said Mark Holsten, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources commissioner, who made the decision. “We didn’t hear an overwhelming outcry [for a three-bird bag].”
Minnesota has been the only state in the flyway that has declined the three-woodie option.
Minnesota’s season opens Oct. 2, and hunters will again have a 60-day duck hunting season, with a six-bird daily limit. The mallard bag limit will be four, with one hen allowed. One canvasback, two pintails and two scaup (bluebills) will be allowed. New this year: An 85-day regular Canada goose season, with a three-bird limit. This is a change from the two-bird limit last year, with a special December season in which five birds daily were allowed. A new goose hunting zone likely will be developed around the city of Rochester, and hunting there likely will be split into two seasons.
More changes coming? Duck hunters could see bigger changes in 2011. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to allow states, including Minnesota and Wisconsin, to offer three duck hunting zones, and each could have a split season. Minnesota could offer a north zone, where the season would run 60 days in a row; a southeast zone, where the season would be split so that hunting could be extended into December; and a zone for the rest of the state, which also likely would be split to provide late-season hunting. “That would be pretty attractive,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. The DNR will survey several thousand duck hunters after the season to gauge opinions on this and other issues.
Did you know? • Minnesota’s 2010 Hunting and Trapping Regulations booklet is out; there are some key changes for hunters.
• Audubon Minnesota and the Minnesota Conservation Federation are peeved at the DNR for setting a sandhill crane hunting season this fall in northwestern Minnesota. The groups said there should have a been a formal proposal to the public. See tinyurl.com/2fhvho8.
• Hunters interested in the 2010 regular archery deer hunts at Camp Ripley near Little Falls must apply by Aug. 13.
• Wisconsin citizens can help monitor the deer population by recording and reporting all deer they see between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30. Go to the DNR website (dnr.wi.gov) and click on the Operation Deer Watch.