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candiru

Earlier Duck Opener?

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kittycatcher16

If anything later season would be better. But yet IMO it wouldnt really matter much.First off, the later the season the colder which means the water is most likely frozen on most everyones honey holes, which means little ducks if any ducks around. second, Yes there is a ton of ducks around in december and even january, but most of the ducks are within city limits on little open water ponds that a guy couldnt hunt anyway.

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life=outdoors92

see, duck huntin is just so luck of the draw its not even funny. u can say shorten the season, or lengthen it... it really doens't matter cause we all know minnesota weather doens't care about duck season. it can be mosquitos and getting a tan on opener one year, and snowing the next year.... this year, a huge cold front came thru right before the middle of october (ice was on the lake) and it was bluebill and ringeck city those 2 mornings. like 3 or 4 years ago, it was almost 60 degrees on that same weekend (btw northern itasca county)...

if anything i guess, open it up a week earlir and at least a week or 2 later. this way the northern and central mn hunters get their woodies, teal, etc , and the southern part of the state, especially rivers, get plenty of shootin in late.

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Gordie

whats the point to open the season any earlier there are not any ducks to shoot to begin with. Gotta go to ND or canada for good duck hunting.

Dont know where you were this year but when I took the kids out for youth w-day I was in total amazement in all the birds that were around and It would of been a really great opening day for ducks.

BUT I'm all for changeing the date LATER less hunters to deal with I mean if you think its bad on opener with the crowds of people just make the season earlier and it wont be the cold that pushes the birds south it will be the pressure and not being able to sit anywhere..

DNR might be trying to attract more hunters but how many will they lose due to this? Not me I will duck hunt when ever they tell me its leagle to in this state.

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jblabsnduck

Do a split, in the south anyway. The second and third weekends in Oct are worthless anyway.

I also saw where the DNR is also trying to move opening day shooting time to one-half hour before sunrise. (just like any other day). It is about time.

start hunting/scouting.

We have had our best hunts in mid Oct. the 3rd weekend in Oct. is when it starts to get real good.

I guess if you think shooting limits in less than an hour isn't good hunting then keep thinking the way you are.

Key in MN is to SCOUT and SCOUT some more.

Birds are here you just have to find them and that means going farther than 30 minutes outside the cities.

I don't hunt as much as I used to (have 2 kids now)but I can still find birds on the days I hunt.

Going from 5-6 days of hunting a week to 2-3 hasn't made much of a difference in finding birds.

We hunt in SW MN a lot and have NO problem finding birds.

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kittycatcher16

right on jblab right on..

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jparrucci

Scouting is obviously a key to finding birds in this state. There are always birds to be had. But, in all reality, most people dont have the time or money to be out scouting every day or week. The northern part of this state DOES need to open earlier, no question about it. I would be ok with a north south split, starting up north at least a week earlier. How much water is huntable in Northern MN in late November? Very very little if any on most years. Early season goose hunting I see HUGE numbers of blue wing teal and wood ducks in the southern part of the state. SOME of these are gone by opener in most years. Opening early would give more opportunities for these birds, at the expense of the late season field and river mallard guys. According to the MN DNR, mid October is peak for Ringbills, the most common diver, so closing for a week up north would NOT be a good idea, where in the southern third it may be. The northern MN duck hunt is much much different than down south.

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Scott M

With all due respect to everyone who responds with some derivative of "work harder," I think you're missing the point. "Working harder" through the status quo isn't going to appeal to the Average Joe Weekend Ducker, who is already getting up at 4 a.m. after a 50 hour work week to watch empty skies with his kid and dog. He can't scout more and his access is limited. I'm lucky enough to be one of those guys that can work harder, but I can tell you right now that things are going to have to change because the writing is on the wall for me as I get older. The elder in our group comes along half as much as he used to because he's sick of not seeing a duck. I've talked to a lot of old timers that have hung it up. They, and new people to the sport, want to shoot birds. That's the impetus for a change. The DNR knows that declining numbers will continue, perhaps precipitously after the poor harvest of 2009. They are losing duck stamp dollars and funding to work towards their Duck Recovery Plan; it's a decline that's snowballing. It's time for a shakeup, and I for one, looking at the latitude of this state, don't disagree with split zoning or seasons. We all have our theories, some accurate and some mere perceptions, as to why fewer ducks are being harvested in Minnesota. If the goal is higher harvest, starting earlier on summer ducks and starting earlier on opening day may help achieve that goal (as the waterfowl biologists point out).

Everyone has their own favorite way to hunt and time to hunt. Taking into account that harvesting some birds is a big part of people's definition of success, a change seems needed for the masses. And that change may be a sacrifice of one or two weeks in the middle of the season. There will be no perfect situation for everyone.

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RumRiverRat

To Average Joe Weekend Duck Hunter:

If you are getting up at 4am you are already 3 or 4 hours behind.

If you hunt memories and do not scout I do not feel bad for you.

I wish the season consisted of a 15 day season in late September to early October and a 45 day season starting the last Saturday in October.

Until then I will continue to scout and spend many nights sleeping in my Duck boat so I can get on the X.

The 2009 season was a weird one for me.

Shot plenty of ducks but had many days where I only heard Drake Mallards quaking.

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jblabsnduck

With all due respect to everyone who responds with some derivative of "work harder," I think you're missing the point. "Working harder" through the status quo isn't going to appeal to the Average Joe Weekend Ducker, who is already getting up at 4 a.m. after a 50 hour work week to watch empty skies with his kid and dog. He can't scout more and his access is limited. I'm lucky enough to be one of those guys that can work harder, but I can tell you right now that things are going to have to change because the writing is on the wall for me as I get older. The elder in our group comes along half as much as he used to because he's sick of not seeing a duck. I've talked to a lot of old timers that have hung it up. They, and new people to the sport, want to shoot birds. That's the impetus for a change. The DNR knows that declining numbers will continue, perhaps precipitously after the poor harvest of 2009. They are losing duck stamp dollars and funding to work towards their Duck Recovery Plan; it's a decline that's snowballing. It's time for a shakeup, and I for one, looking at the latitude of this state, don't disagree with split zoning or seasons. We all have our theories, some accurate and some mere perceptions, as to why fewer ducks are being harvested in Minnesota. If the goal is higher harvest, starting earlier on summer ducks and starting earlier on opening day may help achieve that goal (as the waterfowl biologists point out).

Everyone has their own favorite way to hunt and time to hunt. Taking into account that harvesting some birds is a big part of people's definition of success, a change seems needed for the masses. And that change may be a sacrifice of one or two weeks in the middle of the season. There will be no perfect situation for everyone.

Closing the season in Oct. should not even be looked at.

I agree with that the northern part of the state should open up a week earlier but not at the cost of prime Oct. hunting.

This is not so much about "working harder", driving around is not hard work.

I have two kids now like I said before and a LOT of my time is devoted to my kids. My daughter went on her first goose hunt this past early goose season. If you have kids, take them on a ride with you. Heck my wife even likes going out driving around with me. She likes seeing new places out in the country side.

If you say you don't have time to go scout because you hunt up north or something and live here in the cities then the KEY will be to look for new hunting spots. If you are going out and looking at empty skies then stick a fork in the spot and look for a new one.

I have a couple spots that are 3 hours away from where I live BUT I know that the spots hold birds or have workable birds in the area.

I am not saying you don't know how to duck hunt since you are having poor luck, I am saying if you are having poor luck then try a new spot.(scout)

I know people like to hunt spots they know well and hate to give them up because they were the honey hole(I am one of them) in the past but times are changing and you need to be open to changing also.

You know what would solve this WHOLE problem???? A early teal and wooduck season like other states have. (states as near as Iowa)

P.S. the comment I made about going farther than 30 minutes from the cities, I just remembered I had one of the BEST shoots in my life 15 minutes from my house in shakopee.(Thanks again Berto) So point being, go drive around you never know what you will find.

Late

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Meyer8043

This is why it is called hunting not shooting, give up one of those days on the weekend to drive around or walk around with your gun and try to find some birds at least walking around you can get a chance to jump shoot some and see where they are. Duck hunting is not a lazy mans sport any more. You can't drive to the nearest watering hole and shoot a limit every day. Try walking a little farther off the beaten path or off the beaten path period you'll be surprised at what you might find if you walk another 15 min into that marsh. Do work son!

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B. Amish

Iowa's early season is an early DUCK season, not an early teal and woodduck season.

One of the concerns about MN having an early season soley for Teal is that there would be too many other duck species shot. Also, concerns that ducks would still be fledging and not be able to fly yet.

The Feds set the allowable season length. MN is allowed 60 days when duck numbers are high. For everyone that wants a split, what would happen when the Feds say we can only have a 45 day or even a 30 day season?

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Scott M

Three responses in a row aimed at "work harder." Again I will reiterate, I have nothing against doing some scouting and getting up earlier; I'm in my 20's and scouting has worked for me (or at least told me on a few occasions that there are more populous things to hunt for on a weekend). But I am also thinking longer term and big picture, and again, with all due respect, I'm not sure everyone commenting here is. I have duck hunted within 60 miles of the Canada border and within 60 miles of the Iowa border. Big difference based on your location as to when things are starting and finishing for the year. I'm just asking people to have a little empathy for others, what they like to hunt, and how they like to hunt. Binoculars and a set of wheels do go a long way towards scouting, but some of the areas people hunt you wouldn't be able to see over the tops of the cane and cattails to see ducks on the little potholes. Besides, we're talking about orders of magnitude of fewer ducks in this state, not just a rearrangement of entropy in the system. It's not as simple as every hunter needs to be re-educated to hunt "my way."

Let's break this thing down based on a larger group of hunters. The DNR has stated this goal for duck recovery in Minnesota:

Quote:
Recover historical breeding and migrating populations of ducks in Minnesota for their ecological, recreational, and economic importance to the citizens of the state. Progress towards this goal will be measured by the following long-term objectives: 1) A breeding population of 1 million ducks producing a fall population of 1.4 million ducks. 2) A fall duck harvest that is 16% or more of the Mississippi Flyway harvest. 3) An average of 140,000 waterfowl hunters and 600,000 waterfowl watchers.

Since the ink dried on that duck plan in 2006, things have gotten much worse for all 3 of those objectives. I'm not adamantly in favor of any particular change in management strategy; I just recognize something needs to be done for Minnesota duck hunters other than telling them to "work and scout harder."

Ultimately this is a deeper issue than tweaking some regs. We are producing fewer resident ducks and attracting fewer migrant ducks because of our past and ongoing land management decisions.

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jblabsnduck

For the record, I was not trying to come accross as to "work harder" I was trying to make the point of "if there are no birds in your area then find a new area".

MN has MUCH BIGGER issues than us e-net biologist.

1- the water quality SUCKS

2- Drain tile in just about every field

3- sloughs get dug up and planted for crops

4- Our DNR ask for input but doesn't listen when they get it

5- MN needs to buy more land for nesting instead of a small water hole surronded by big trees.

6- MN need to fix what we have

I could go on and on but I wont.

My point is- we have to make changes to the changes around us till times get better.(and lets pray it does get better)

But for now, no ducks in your area then move around. They are out there and can be tuff to find but when you find them GAME ON.

I like to look at it like fishing. We all have our honey holes but every now and then that honey hole doesn't produce so we start up the boat and go look for a new one and with any luck that honey hole will be a honey hole again someday.

Late

PS spring snows only a month away. Come get you some whitey.

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RumRiverRat

MN has MUCH BIGGER issues than us e-net biologist.

1- the water quality SUCKS

2- Drain tile in just about every field

3- sloughs get dug up and planted for crops

4- Our DNR ask for input but doesn't listen when they get it

5- MN needs to buy more land for nesting instead of a small water hole surronded by big trees.

6- MN need to fix what we have

I agree 100%

I love all the WMA's that consist of a small pothole filled with green water that is teaming with minnows and surrounded by a ring of cattails 100 yards wide.

Same goes for the WPA's................I am pretty sure they produce a lot of waterfowl.

The habitat in MN sucks donkey gonads.

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Musky Buck

The worst part rum is that is so true, but our farms we are open to improving the potholes but we have but never heard a word about how that can be done, we tried unsuccessfully to plant wild rice. A big change from my youth to today in my area is our lakes used to be resting places and food and cover, those same lakes we can't even try to hunt anymore as they are ringed with lake places and since our pop. has grown more and more are using them also to fish late into the fall. Then there's another 50 reasons. In the 80's I used to stand in awe of the migration and huge flocks of woodies, now I do the same stand in awe of rarely seeing a flock of mallards and woodies. Having 2 nephews now that want to duck hunt is tough, they ask why do we only hunt geese, I said how many ducks have you seen around here the mornings we go, none is their answer or remember that 1 flock of mallards. It's really a sad deal and I'm not hearing too many coming up with any answers.

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kittycatcher16

I love duck hunting...it is in my blood and its my passion. I would go every single day in the season if I could, regardless of minnesota's "low numbers" of ducks. IMO if you are going to complain then simply dont hunt MN then. Means more room for us who dont complain and just go. Go and buy a NR north dakota license and hunt there. Its not all about how many birds I shoot every time im out, its about being in the blind with buddies while bull****ing and drinking coffee. Good times.

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jparrucci

Thats a great attitude. If more and more hunters continue to leave the sport, how much money is there going to be for more and improved habitat kittycatcher? We need all the duck hunters we can get. Without those liscence and stamp monies, the duck numbers will drop even more. I agree 100% with RRR, we need to turn our attention to the dumpy wetlands we currently have. Cattail lined and full of minnows is not good for ducks.

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Gordie

other than whats been said and I agree fully with what dachise has to say on the matter of the ducks and the problems that we are facing.

I can only think of one way to improve duck hunting in Minnesota is to over throw North Dakota and call it Minnesota whistlelaugh

When and if the water and food come back to Minnesota the ducks will follow. But that a big IF or WHEN

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chub

I love duck hunting...it is in my blood and its my passion. I would go every single day in the season if I could, regardless of minnesota's "low numbers" of ducks. IMO if you are going to complain then simply dont hunt MN then. Means more room for us who dont complain and just go. Go and buy a NR north dakota license and hunt there. Its not all about how many birds I shoot every time im out, its about being in the blind with buddies while bull****ing and drinking coffee. Good times.

Precisely the attitude our DNR loves to hear and caters to. Why should they divert money away from the golden walleye to improve waterfowling in the state when most of the hunters are apathetic and content to "watch the sunrise and sip coffee"? I can think of a thousand places to sit and [PoorWordUsage] where I don't have to get up in the middle of the night, battle morons for a good spot, freeze my six and bust my stuff up.....LOL

Hunting is about seeing birds, working them, and hopefully shooting them.

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MN Greenheads

1)A first weekend of Sept. teal season.Most everyone knows the difference between teal and big ducks and/or will be expected to. If a few mallards go down big deal,Illinois has an early season and there are some mallards already there.

2) split the N and S part of the state. Early opener N Late S.

That's the way to harvest more ducks in MN...............

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Finlander

elwood, making Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota into one state and rename it MinnKota! grin

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kittycatcher16

Originally Posted By: kittycatcher16
I love duck hunting...it is in my blood and its my passion. I would go every single day in the season if I could, regardless of minnesota's "low numbers" of ducks. IMO if you are going to complain then simply dont hunt MN then. Means more room for us who dont complain and just go. Go and buy a NR north dakota license and hunt there. Its not all about how many birds I shoot every time im out, its about being in the blind with buddies while bull****ing and drinking coffee. Good times.

Precisely the attitude our DNR loves to hear and caters to. Why should they divert money away from the golden walleye to improve waterfowling in the state when most of the hunters are apathetic and content to "watch the sunrise and sip coffee"? I can think of a thousand places to sit and [PoorWordUsage] where I don't have to get up in the middle of the night, battle morons for a good spot, freeze my six and bust my stuff up.....LOL

Hunting is about seeing birds, working them, and hopefully shooting them.

Obviously hunting is about working birds. But when there isnt birds around to be worked is when we are sipping coffee. I dont go out to watch the sunrise. I like how you call other hunters morons...just remember when you are pointing the finger at them there is 3 more fingers pointed at you. They are just out there to do the same thing you are. But, I agree SOME hunters out there can be morons.

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RiverRunner

In my opinion starting the season earlier and making zones are just band aids. It might improve the hunting for a week or two, but your still stuck with the root problems. And waterfowl hunter numbers will continue to drop.

The problem I have with zones is you could have people hunting both South and North openers and the ends of both seasons. Creating more pressure on public land in certain areas. If the DNR gets around this, great I'm all for zones.

The reality of it is the majority of ducks including mallards have migrated through the state by the seasons end. Don't believe me look at the USFWS refuge sites for Missouri and Arkansas. Or look at the MN DNRs weekly migration report. This years kind of the exception with the unusually warm November.

The DNR really needs to concentrate on improving habitat, creating refuges, and holding birds in the state. Duck numbers in this state aren't a complete losted cause. If the DNR makes changes comes up with a good plan and sticks with it, duck numbers both breeding and migrating through the state will improve. Though it will never be good as the Dakotas.

Some things I would like to see the DNR try to improve hunting. All these could be rolled out fairly quickly.

-On your more popular lakes like Pelican, Swan, North Lake etc. Close hunting at 1 p.m for the whole season for these areas. I'd be willing to bet this would improve hunting on those lakes. Some of these Lakes see boat traffic 10 to 12 hours a day.

-Make more lakes non motorized especially in Southern MN. If a Lakes 200 acres and 8 ft deep or less make it Non-motorized. If theres habitat work done on a lake make it non-motorized. People paddling in doesn't disturb ducks like a boat motor does.

-Lakes that need aerators to keep fish alive. Let the lake winter kill and bump off some carp. Ducks will use these lake, because the majority of them are shallow. This ones a little tougher because it requires the DNR Fisheries to be on board with it.

-Don't allow raising of bait fish on public land. In WMAs or WPAs. This has been around for a while, but shouldn't be allowed for obvious reasons. Get rid of public water DNR rearing ponds.

-Limit early season goose to one week over water. Have Youth waterfowl day the first day of goose season.

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SledNeck

The reality of it is the majority of ducks including mallards have migrated through the state by the seasons end. Don't believe me look at the USFWS refuge sites for Missouri and Arkansas. Or look at the MN DNRs weekly migration report. This years kind of the exception with the unusually warm November.

Fill Minnesota with rice fields. Imagine the hunting then! WOW

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magnum mike

If they are going to have a split season, hunters should have to choose north or south when they purchase the license similar to deer zones. Prime hunting areas get enough pressure as it is.

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Scott M

You will have a chance to have your voice heard. Choose to attend one of the upcoming public comment meetings to comment on any of the proposed changes to waterfowl management, seasons, and regulations in the state.

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magnum mike

I wonder how they chose the sites for these meetings. The nearest one to my home is 100+ miles away.

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Gordie

You will have a chance to have your voice heard. Choose to attend one of the upcoming public comment meetings to comment on any of the proposed changes to waterfowl management, seasons, and regulations in the state.

Thanks for the info da-chise

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HNTNBUX

It might be a bandaid fix to start the season earlier but I will start with that. Most of the lakes I like to hunt are the first to freeze and are locked up before the season ends.

I would also be more likely to hunt three or four days in the first week and maybe once in the last week. With deer hunting in November I would prefer the time on the front of the season.

I would like to know how SD gets to keep their goose season going as long as it is and we can't. I am all for opportunity even if I haven't been able to hunt a field in almost fourteen years. Somebody could be out there having fun.

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Musky Buck

HNTNBUX doesn't our goose season go till like December 22nd or something most years ? Starts Labor day weekend, not sure how much longer SD goes beyond that ? Seems fairly reasonable.

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