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eyepatrol

Duck Hunting MN - R U Going?

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eyepatrol

Over the past 7 - 10 years the duck population in my area (southcentral MN) has really, really diminished! I've talked to a few guys these past couple weeks that aren't going to hunt ducks at all this year....too many pheasants around apparently.

I know for myself, I'm not going to hunt as much as I used to. Come late fall when the northern flight occurs, yes, I'll be out there as much as possible. Other than that, I'll go out opening weekend, then I'll be fishing until she turns good and cold and windy.

How 'bout the rest of you? Same feelings or is your hunting areas better than my situation? I'm just not seeing the ducks anymore to spend the time waiting and waiting while I could be somewhere else catching 'eyes.

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Eric Wettschreck

I agree the duck numbers are down, but I'll be out there anyway.

Here in SW Mn there are still ducks out there if you're willing to work to get them.

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jbell1981

From what I have seen duck numbers look good in the central & west central part of the state. Its just a matter of scouting and finding them. Soon my boat will be converted from fishing to hunting and won't see another fish until next spring. I will be out hunting as much as possible.

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Mark Christianson

I will certainly be out as well, but not as much as years past. More time in the bow stand if the ducks are scarce like they have been the past couple years.

I surely hope to be surprised by more birds, but we'll see what happens. Looking forward to it regardless.

Great to have options! smile.gif

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Farley

I'd never give up duck hunting.

We did fine last year by scouting and asking permmision to hunt lands we didnt already have permission for. Had the biggest flock of greenheads I've ever seen (in MN) come right into our dekes last year. We figured about 150 or so. We shot 6. That was on a public lake.

Last year sucked because there was too much water, all the fields were flooded so I'd drive around and scout and the birds were scattered all over. A few in this flooded corn field, a few in this pond, a few in this ditch, they werent concentrated at all. This year it's certian ponds that have water in them so I think it should be better.

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riverrat56

Just starting out duck hunting last year there is no way I'd give it up, if theres ducks or not who cares, its nice to shoot but theres more to it than that.

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tearin' lips

I agree with Farley. I will never give up duck hunting there is too much time thorughout the year to fish, there is only a 60 day season to duck hunt. I am out there two to three times per week with variuos people. We had out best year ever last year, and through scouting I don't see why this year is going to be any different. I understand in some places there isn't the resources available for good waterfowling, but up here in the north when you put in the time scouting public land and factor in the realtionships with various land owners around you...you have an equation that cannot miss. I can honestly say that last year duck hunting, there was not a time where we didn't or couldn't have shot out limit of ducks. To me its too special of a past-time to not participate in. The early mornings waiting in the blind to set out the decoys, joking and remembering seasons past. Hearing the ducks waking up in the weeds and seeing the first huge flocks fly over, undercover in the nights fading hours. Or having a diver, disoreinted by the fog, follow the hook up and land right into your blind. Its times like these that make me want to take advantage of every day of the 60 day season that I can.

Take Care Guys and Good Hunting!

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hanson

The only thing that keeps me from duck hunting more is not so much the reported lack of birds, its fuel costs. I still do a lot of my waterfowling "back home" in NW MN. We are still seeing the ducks like we always have. It almost seams like hunting has been impoving the last few years as well. We don't end up shooting a lot of mallards but we do get into a lot of divers. Duck hunting is not just about shooting mallards.

We saw good numbers of blue-wing teal last weekend for the early goose opener. Now if they'll stick around until the duck opener, thats up in the air.

I will concur with Farley about too much water last fall, if conditions stay the same, the ducks should be back to using "normal" areas this fall.

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ChuckN

Give up duckin? laugh.gif No way!

I'm in the stages of planning the duck season and annual trips with the friends...that's what it's all about. grin.gif

I'm with Farley on this. This year has been excellent for bird numbers in WC MN, in my opinion. I haven't seen this many ducks in local ponds in a LONG time. The dry and hot summer dried up a lot of small sloughs that cover this area, and it just exploded the wild rice crop. There are ducks and I am looking forward to opener. grin.gif

I took a plane ride not long ago scouting for ducks, and the lack of water compared to last year is good for us....bad for ducks. As long as we don't flood out like last September and October it looks promising.

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deepportage01

In the area I hunt the duck population never seems to change that much IMO it's always good , but it all has to do with the hunter and what he will do for a few birds, the eye's bight at night ware we hunt so it's like killing two birds with one stone grin.gif Good topic! I will be out in the blind for the first 3 weekends and then it's on to deer camp cool.gif If I had to give somthing up duck hunting would be the frist to go it's sad but true

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R. Miller

Basscatcher,

I agree with you man. I wasn't going to pound ducks as much as I have in the past this year. The last two years I've hunted in far western MN and it's been spotty at best. You've fished Erie, out by Hutch, right? In the late 90s early 2000s we had great luck just west of Hutch there. I have headed out that way the last couple weekends and have been surprised by the numbers of ducks on the ponds between Hutch and Cosmos. I think this year will be much better than the last two. Can't wait!

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eyepatrol

I certainly hope it is better. A guy I talked to who usually hunted around New Auburn said he hasn't seen many ducks at all around there, and that's usually the honey-hole area for ducks.

I'll definitely be hunting this year. Like many of you have said, I don't think I could ever give it up. However, I doubt that I'll be hunting as much earlier on in the season as in past years. The last 4 years on opening weekend (including both Sat. and Sun) we have gotten a total of 6 ducks. Mind you, it isn't just about "getting ducks" as we share lots of stories and it's a good thing we got chest waders on 'cause the sh!$ really gets deep sometimes. wink.gif But, I've got 2 kids now, lots of house projects going on, fall fishing I'd like to do (which I've never done) among other things.

I'll be out there, no doubt. But you're more likely to find me out there when the northwest wind howls rather than a light southeast breeze on a blue-bird day.

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Gordie

with no drivers liecense and I wont be goig to the big water as much but I luckly live on a lake that has some very good duck hunting and a river that flows out for late season mallards and geese but no way would I give that up. My second home in the fall is in my blind and the smell of gun powder and a wet lab is great! I love those divers but a sreaming teal is always fun too. YES I'M GOING my 10yr old son can't wait either.

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shae1986

Well even though im only 20 and maybe i missed some of the good old days of duck hunting, i still enjoy going out. Its like how i feel when im deer hunting, just trying to fool the game into coming with in range is a big enough challange and enjoyment for me to keep going out. We didn't shoot a lot of ducks last year, even though we pounded the geese, but its still fun to go out with friends, and meet new friends. It is something i hope i am able to do my entire life. And being only 20 i hope that is many many years to come.

A. Shae

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Sartell Angler

I just turned 22 and remember my first couple years of duck hunting, starting in '98...back then my younger bro and I pretty much only went if we were along with my grandpa and uncle at the hunting shack. Seemed like there were a lot more ducks around and it always seemed like there were birds in the sky. These last few years, there have been plenty of geese but A LOT more time spent looking at duckless skies.

That being said, I spend more days in the field now than ever before and each year I find myself becoming more and more anxious for the season to begin. I am on here and another waterfowling site almost 365 days per year sharing ideas and stories and anticipating the season with hundreds of fellow waterfowlers. That is saying a lot considering I attend school full time and also work, play sports, and have other hobbies/ obligations.

Regardless of how many ducks are around I will be in the blind having the time of my life again this season with my grandpa, old dog, great friends, or maybe all alone taking it all in.

Here's to a great season everyone!

Be safe,

SA/wdw

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Roamer

Was at my folks farm on Sunday and what a sight. By the time my 11 year old daughter and I were done driving across one of his pastures in the golf cart there were at least 1000 ducks in the air almost all being malards. Makes a guy kind of itchy for the season to start.

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USPENAMC

I have no dog

Never hunted geese or ducks

dont have any decoys

havent bought the bullets yet

dont have the waders

dont have a boat

dont have a call

dont have a clue

dont have a spot

but my father my brother and I will surely be out there somewhere for our first time doing waterfowling as long as we do everything by law and hopefully get EXTREMELY lucky we will down some birds. I can guarantee you one thing we will have shared some good moments together, in the outdoors, away from the hazzle of work and the city. maybe learn from any nearby hunters too. If im feeling happy, lucky and up for it.....why arent you?

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Fish&Fowl

Gotta go every possible chance no matter what. Fall is too short to wait for the "right" conditions to duck hunt. I'll admit I HATE warm weather and sun as much as the next guy if not more when trying to duck hunt, but if that means I gotta quit at 11:00 am and go back out at 3:00, so be it.

Just being out in the blind is all that matters. Anything else (cold, sleet, DUCKS) are just a bonus. Plus with all the rice I've seen I think it will be a good duck year.

Good luck to all the die-hards, keep your fingers crossed for some nasty weather!

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BLACKJACK

Quote:

But you're more likely to find me out there when the northwest wind howls rather than a light southeast breeze on a blue-bird day.


You hit it on the head, I'll make it out for the opening weekend, but after that I will pick my spots, too many other fall things to do rather than sit in a duck blind cooking on a bluebird day. Two weeks after duck opener is pheasant opener!! And bowhunting is open too. Though I have sat in my deer stand seeing ducks dropping into a pond, thinking I should be duck hunting. Or I've sat in a duck blind and gotten no ducks, thinking I should have went deer hunting!

Its a GREAT time of year regardless!!

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Sergeant Slabber

Duck numbers have taken a nose dive where I've been hunting for many a year. The geese have always kept it interesting though. This year it sounds like there's more birds in the area, so I'm actually getting more pumped for opener than usuall over the past 5 or so years. Duck hunting was my first love as an outdoorsman, and it will always be in my blood. The weather today has got me hearing bills screaming over my head at mach 5. I just hope that the numbers stay steady and wetlands don't decrease at the rate they are now. I would like to be able to take my kids out duck hunting in 10 years!

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island guy

I'll go out a bit but not near as much as I used to. I still just enjoy sunrise in the fall even if I don't see or shoot much. It's nothing like it used to be but neither am I!!

It's so hard to find any place to hunt without shelling out the bucks. I do some public during the weekdays and stay away from weekends. Too cut throat for me.

I'm on the road a lot and started knocking on doors way back in the spring. Must of tried dozens of land owners. No luck at all. Met lots of nice folks but everything I tried for was leased up. Can't blame the farmers for going for the extra cash. I would too! I don't have the means to own or lease so I'll just keep doing the weekday thing a few times and just enjoy the experience without a lot of expectations. Works for me.

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RonZych

Am I going duck hunting? Does a duck crap on the pond?

Does a bear crap in the woods? O yea baby!!!!

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jimbo80

I get a kick out of you doom and gloomers! Last year was an incredible season here in Mn for ducks. There were not many hunts we didnt fill out on. But then again if you are hunting the same spot for the last 20 years, or your scouting mission consists of driving down I-94 you might have problems finding them....

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eyepatrol

I say more power to the people that can go out, scout and be mobile. That definitely is a way to put better hunts into your season. I used to do it with a college buddy in SD when going to school out there. It's a lot of fun. Not only do you get out looking for ducks, but you get to BS and all while doing it...remembering days past, telling stories, etc.

Now though, I'm settled down with a wife and kids. I live in the same town I grew up in and hunt with my dad, brother and neighbor. My dad is 58 and my neighbor is 74. Not the ages where they can be very mobile anymore. So we just hunt the lake my folks live on, which we've done for over 20 years now. So, I'm "stuck" by hunting only one spot. But others I talk to who hunt the area and other counties in the area are saying the same.....not much ducks around at all and it seems to be getting worse.

That's fine though. Like I said, I hunt with my dad, brother and neighbor and we really enjoy being out on the water together. The one thing that's priceless....you get A LOT of stories built up after 20+ years of hunting together!!!!!!!!!! grin.gif

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GrousetoBluebill

I go every year!

However, after hunting the last 20 years or more in ND you get spoiled. The most excited we used to get is when the Blue Bills used to come down through MN. Now MN is so poor they don't come through like they did.

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      Volunteers have through October to apply to join one of the citizen-agency work groups that discuss how the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages fish.  There are individual work groups for bass, catfish, panfish and walleye, and one focused on both northern pike and muskellunge. New members are needed for all of these work groups except the panfish group. “We still need more applicants for the bass and catfish groups. Otherwise, we have been getting decent interest since we started taking applications in early October,” said Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief. Volunteers can apply to one of the groups through Monday, Oct. 30. Each group of about 15 people will include volunteers and DNR staff who meet two or three times per year to discuss new research, population, harvest trends and fisheries management. Meetings average three to four hours, not including travel time. Applicants must be Minnesota residents age 18 or older. Participants will be selected by the DNR and can serve a term of either two or three years. The groups are advisory and do not make decisions on policy or fish management. For more information or an application form, visit mndnr.gov/fishgroups or call 651-259-5182. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      Hunters in permit area 603 taking part in the early antlerless-only or youth deer hunting seasons are required to have their deer tested for chronic wasting disease and cannot move an adult deer carcass out of the permit area until a negative test result is received.  The antlerless-only and youth deer hunts take place from Thursday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 22, in several permit areas including permit area 603, southeastern Minnesota’s CWD management zone. “The CWD management zone is included in these antlerless-only hunting opportunities as a way to reduce the deer population in the zone and limit the spread of CWD,” said Erik Hildebrand, CWD project coordinator. All hunters in permit area 603 must have their deer tested for CWD and cannot move the carcass out of the permit area until a negative test result is received. Properly cut-up deer and boned-out meat can be taken out of the area provided no brain matter or spinal column material is attached. Head collection boxes will be located in: Chatfield: Magnum Sports, 1 1st St., 507-867-4399. Preston: DNR area forestry office, 912 Houston St., 507-765-2740. Lanesboro: DNR area fisheries office, 23789 Grosbeak Road, 507-467-2442. Wykoff: Goodies and Gas, 104 E Front St., 507-352-2421. Harmony: Oak Meadow Meats, 50 9th St., 507-886-6328. Hunters should do the following: Field dress (gut) deer as normal. Register deer via phone, internet or walk-in big game registration station. If harvest occurs late in the day, sample (head) submission and registration do not have to occur on the same day. If the deer will be mounted, a video showing how to properly cape your deer is available at bitly.com/capeadeer. Remove the head, leaving at least 4 inches of neck attached. Hunters can take meat out of the zone immediately but the carcass (head with brain and spinal column) cannot be moved outside deer permit area 603 until a negative test result is received so hunters must:  Make arrangements to refrigerate the carcass before the deer is processed. Cut deer into quarters or other pieces; or Bone-out the meat. Ensure no spinal column or brain matter is included with the meat or on the antlers. Properly dispose of carcass remains by keeping these away from scavengers until test negative results are received. There will be a dumpster at the DNR forestry office in Preston for hunters who don’t have a way to dispose of remains. The Preston dumpster is being provided as a courtesy for deer carcass disposal only. It will be removed if people attempt to process deer there or use the dumpster for trash disposal. Bring the entire head of the deer to one of five head box collection sites. Each collection box has specific instructions on how to properly submit the head for sampling. Put heads in the plastic bags provided. Use the maps provided at each box to mark an “X” where the deer was harvested. Submit this map with sample. Samples during the archery, youth deer and antlerless only seasons will be submitted for testing on Mondays and Thursdays. It may take up to four business days for test results to be available. CWD test results can be searched using a nine-digit MDNR number online at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck. Deer hunters should regularly check the DNR’s CWD webpage at mndnr.gov/cwd for the most recent information. More information about youth and antlerless-only hunts can be found in the Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.