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Beast26

Youth Waterfowl Day Yea or Nay?

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honker23

Really you would only be missing 1 week under the current season. Would all ducks leave at that time in northern MN? If so, then you would appreciate opening a week earlier to get 2 days of hunting in before it got so cold.

I just think right now the opener has lost a lot of luster for me. Whether it is from the goose on water, youth, or loss of habitat. I think by a 2 day early hunt for everyone would allow all of us to enjoy the local birds for a weekend. I would definitely enjoy a few extra days at the end of the season.

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Gordie

To be honest with you I would like the season to go later in the year but this has its faults also like the Bluebill population falling but the Goldeneyes are so much fun and I love those Decemeber mallards.

Dont get me wrong I love shooting and most of all eating teal but divers are where its at for me. and that means late season big water and cold temps

Yea I'm a bit Nutz

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Beast26

To be honest with you I would like the season to go later in the year but this has its faults also like the Bluebill population falling but the Goldeneyes are so much fun and I love those Decemeber mallards.

Dont get me wrong I love shooting and most of all eating teal but divers are where its at for me. and that means late season big water and cold temps

Yea I'm a bit Nutz

This + I am a big fan of layout blind hunting in fields and having hundreds of Mallard circling over head. You don't see that until really late in the fall/early winter. There is nothing better than watching a flock of bills a half mile up dive bomb the spread.

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Barbelboy

I believe youth waterfowl day gives them a unique opportunity to experience unpressured birds without too much competition. I don't have kids, but I've trained at least 4 to be waterfowlers. Each one I would take them until they were too old, then they had to find their replacement. It worked wonderfully and I had an awesome time teaching each kid. Each one that was too old also helped me teach the new one. Before I knew it I had a little cadre of duck scouts/partners and access to all their spots during regular season! I even had the little rascals trained to set the decoys and make coffe in the duck blind before I showed up!

The time spent teaching them what I knew, how to properly scout, ask permission politely and put my decoys out for me paid off big time. I'm for anything that helps retain or recruit hunters in a time when our numbers are decreasing and our sport is under increasing scrutiny.

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Mlaker3

Yea, big time. Took my kids out each youth day. They are 25 and 28 now. Big time waterfowl enthusiasts. One was my daughter, she thinks the sound of cupped winged mallards coming into field deke's like mini-jets is the coolest sound on earth. I am so proud of her!

How could you take that away from other families!

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dan z

Nay. They can go on opener like everyone else in MN. Ever sense they started youth season i have shoot less ducks on opener. Im totally not a fan of the youth day. sorry kids. i was a kid one day i got no youth day. i had to go with the adults on opener.

one more thing there are less ducks around to shoot so lets scare them out are state before opener even gets here.

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Stringerless!

Well kids day has come and gone and so have the ducks. I watched countless clouds of mallards ,woodies and teal rise up off the lake circle once and head south as fast as they could fly. Wonder if I can get my $ back for my stamps ? It is over. They are gone .Might as well fill the duck boat with black dirt and plant flowers in it !

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RumRiverRat

Well kids day has come and gone and so have the ducks. I watched countless clouds of mallards ,woodies and teal rise up off the lake circle once and head south as fast as they could fly. Wonder if I can get my $ back for my stamps ? It is over. They are gone .Might as well fill the duck boat with black dirt and plant flowers in it !

Yep, better stay home this season.

whistle

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Goldeneye7

Went out this morning, only managed to get 6 ducks total 5 wood ducks, 2 were drakes, and got a hen mallard. Saw a number of birds many were just landin outside our decoy spread. Saw many flocks of geese. Overall a great day out on the river.

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SledNeck

We decoyed in over 100 mallards today (on a pond in the woods). I kid you not. We didnt go 15 minutes straight without any action.

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koonie

Had my nephew out today and he wound up with his limit. His first birds ever. I had a ball watching him. He is hooked.

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Swampbusters

If the youth day ruins the great opener. I personally think no one should go on opener, it ruins sunday! Opener is for fairweather hunters anyway, the real season dont start till mid november! The youth hunt is a great day! If it pushes the ducks south, who cares! Im pretty sure that there will be more ducks to replace them. I dont mind not haveing a spectacular opener if it were because two weeks prior some kids had a blast with there dads or who ever took them out. Sorry for the rant but just tired of hearing about how kids are getting lazy and playing to much xbox and then the same guy turns around and complains about kids haveing a special day.

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PEATMOSS

I have no idea what effect YWD has on ducks moving south etc, I just know that my chubby 14 yr old walked about five miles today and he has called both his grandpas and all his uncles to tell them about the birds he got. I'm a yea.

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Stringerless!

If you think the youth day scares all of the ducks out of the state how are you gonna feel when they put blinds IN sanctuaries ?!?! The Dnr is trying 2 blinds in Carlos Avery. I went and talked to Dan Rhode, Wma manager and he said the idea came from headquarters in St Paul. They were gonna make a lot of Carlos controlled hunting blinds ! Why don't they do it on a refuge where waterfowl hunting is not allowed ? Something about getting more ppl interested in hunting by providing a "quality " hunt ! They have had "quite a bit of interest- lots of phone calls and emails". Quality hunt ?! That is like calling the trout pond at the sport show quality fishing ?!?! Mark my words, Any of you that hunt WMAS with sanctuaries should be concerned because this is a model/test run for the rest of the state. What holds ducks in these areas ? The only reason they stay there is because it is safe ! How can we drive them out of there ? Easy ! Go in and start shooting ! Absolutely one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard ! Gotta go take a blood pressure pill !

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machohorn

I wish they would do that hunt over the po op pond in rogers or the little pond behind the bowling alley in Monti. I swaer thats where 90% of the ducks hide out. lol

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Stringerless!

Yeah I agree. There are a million other places where somebody could have a "quaility" hunt besides shooting birds out of an existing sanctuary. Sorry did not want to hijack the thread. The kid I took out shot a box and a half of shells and got a mergie hen and a suzie. It was his first time hunting . He can hit 19 out of 25 clays but thought that the ducks would fly into his shooting window. I would say " ducks coming from the right ! " and he would pull up his gun in the hole in the dekes and wait for the birds to come to it without ever looking for the ducks. Lots to learn ! I got a text from his Dad today that said they were out pricing duck boats today so they must have had fun !

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Ray1

Im a yeah.For those of you that say no you must be very selfish people and want everything for yourselves. END OF MY OPINION.

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Bryce

Nay. Admittely influenced by the fact we have no children ourselves. Decision made so that they didn't turn into trolls. (see above post)

Young hunters always welcome in our camp. Every day is their special day to enjoy with the rest of the crew.

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Gordie

Well Youth Waterfowl day came and went and my boys were not out to hunt as they wanted to spend time with friends but I have noticed that all the birds have not left the state... and we will be out to cancel there flight plans on OPENER

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Scott M

Yea for all the reasons already listed. I don't buy the facade of the youth day ruining an entire 60 day season. Ask any waterfowl biologist, a duck will hang around an area even in the midst of hunters and gunfire if there is food and habitat, two things we should as duck hunters be more concerned with. I also don't buy the "no one should be treated special" or "they should have to work at it like the rest of us" lines either. If the last couple generations were passing along duck hunting and we weren't losing hunters every year, we wouldn't even have a youth day. I agree with a number of posters on here, I'd like to see youth day extended to youth that would never have the chance to hunt otherwise. I have taken out 3 youth in 4 years that would never have hunted if I hadn't taken them. The one I brought out this year is going to turn 16 in 3 months; he's more concerned with what duck boat to buy than what car he should purchase.

We sold ~77,000 duck stamps in Minnesota last year; I will guess we lose another 5-6 thousand this year. We need every hunter we can get, including the next ones in line to be eligible.

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Ray Esboldt

I am an in-between. I think one should bring kids on the opener and well into the season. But, youth day does offer a new hunter the opportunity to focus on the task at hand and (hopefully) be well coached in executing it.

I brought my 11 year old this year. He killed his first duck and cannot stop talking about it. It was a day I have been waiting on for 11 years. He cannot wait for duck opener.

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buddha

My 9 year old had a blast and didn't get a duck. That bummed me out but I'm glad they give kids a chance to have one day to do some shooting and get the bug. The biggest downer for me was that we didn't see many birds. I was in an area where I would have bet the farm that we were going to have a great shoot and it didn't happen. Glad to see others were able to drop a few.

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Sifty

I'm a yea.

Sifty

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jparrucci

No

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NR

If youth day is so great, why is it we are down to 60,000 waterfowlers as of last year? (yeah, I know they sold over 70k stamps, but some people buy em just to support conservation and don't hunt) After almost 15 years of youth day, with about 20,000 kids participating each year, shouldn't we be up to our ears in duck hunters??? Obviously it isn't working and considering the controversial nature of youth day, it doesn't take a statistician to guess that youth day might be contributing to the decline in hunter numbers. It doesn't matter if youth day really does or does not drive ducks out. The perception is there and adults are quitting. Obviously all these youth are not sticking with the program either.

FWIW, I participated last weekend. Took a young lady that had never been duckin before. I'm pretty sure she had fun shooting up 2 boxes of shells, but she didn't kill a thing. It was fun for me to watch the birds work, but I couldn't help but think, "Gee, wish I could have this many ducks over the decoys once in a while!" She (and her dad) were so jacked up in that first hour it was really fun. Her enthusiasm waned in the second hour and she was down in the 3rd. She was clearly disappointed that she didn't connect with a duck, but she's a determined one, so I reckon she'll hang in there for a while, but when the excitement doesn't even last for 3 hours on their special day, what are the odds that she (or any youth that isn't heavily mentored long before shooting age) will put up with the large number of crappy days that we experience throughout the year, and especially when they get too old for youth day?

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Scott M

NR, I gotta think retention is a big part of the problem. (I think you mean 20,000 over 15 years, but if the kids go once and no one takes them again, then I agree, the system is flawed and nothing the DNR does is going to make people take out kids. I'd like to see a private mentoring program, but that's a different discussion) There are a whole bunch of issues driving the decline in licenses. But not having any ducks to shoot doesn't help. When duck numbers go up, so do licenses sold. Just like grouse or pheasant, when we see big numbers of birds, we see big numbers of hunters and licenses sold.

I know two living guys in the Minnesota waterfowl hall of fame that have hung up the gun, not because of old age but because of no ducks. They are illustrations of what has happened in this state; if they can quit anyone can quit.

The DNR needs to make some serious ground on their duck recovery plan and that isn't happening. No ducks, no duck hunters.

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Stringerless!

I think it would be safe to blame part of that attrition on an aging duck hunting population. We all know it is not a lazy mans game ! I would love to know the average age of minnesota duck hunters. I see plenty of older guys driving around watching and sitting at the public access. I can't help but think that it is still in their blood but they can not do it physically anymore but they still stay connected somehow by watching. Looking into my own future how long will I be able push pole through the cattails, or make 3 trips from the car out to the middle of a field loaded down with gear and dekes? Maybe we should allow trolling motors on Wmas if you are over 55 ? Just wondering ? Maybe a senior day ?

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NR

From yesterday's star tribune:

"an estimated 20,000 Minnesota youths 15 and younger who slipped into duck blinds early Saturday on Minnesota's 15th annual Youth Waterfowl Day."

http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/103211879.html?elr=KArksi8cyaiUgOahccyiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUs

The obvious answer for MN's problem is lack of ducks (FWIW, NoDak and SoDak have also lost a lot of duck hunters - what's their excuse?) so the question is, what can DNR do to increase hunter satisfaction / give hunters more ducks to see and shoot ?

There are uncountable symptoms the DNR cannot cure - the explosion in lakeshore development, urban and ag runoff, CRP acreage, etc - but the DNR hasn't done anything different in the past 50 years. It's all about wetland and grassland complexes. Well, that obviously isn't keeping pace so DNR needs to look at the things it does control and make some changes. If they keep doing what they've always done, then we'll keep getting what we've always gotten.

They need to look at intensive management practices. Look at the Fisheries Division - would there be a million anglers in this state if it weren't for fish stocking, slot limits, etc? No way. If DNR wants to do anything about the duck season they need to get off their hands and quit talking out of their you know whats.

Hen houses, predator management, pressure control, eliminating over water goose hunting in September and revamping youth day are all excellent possibilities. We'll never know if they don't do something. It doesn't have to be permanent. Give it 5 years and if nothing improves, go back. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Iowa's North Zone has a 4 day duck season Sept 18-22, Youth days Oct 2-3, and duck season Oct 16-Dec 9. Perhaps DNR could take the hint or schedule for MEA weekend.

I fully support (and again, I participate) mentored hunting programs and opening refuge type areas for a day or two of youth hunting, but the current timing simply is not working to anyone's advantage, not even the ducks.

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HNTNBUX

I took my daughter out for her third youth day on Saturday. Up until Saturday she had never got one on youth day and looked forward to the regular opener so we would be able to bring some home. When she shot her first duck Saturday she almost did a little dance in the boat, she was pumped. Being able to focus on the youth and give them pointers on how to make the shot and when is key to their enjoyment and success. When anyone starts something new and they are not good at it right away their enjoyment will wane or they will get determined to do it better. Luckily my daughter has tried harder and not given up. By 10:00 my daughter had four ducks which is as many she shot all of last year and she can not wait to be back out.

For declining hunter numbers I attribute it to three things, an aging group of hunters, hunters that don't want to work that hard for the sport and access to quality habitat.

I talk to many people that think that duck hunting, bear hunting and bow hunting take up to much time and are to much work. To them I say yes it is and I hope they stay home. I am willing to do what it takes to make my hunt enjoyable and youth waterfowl day is not going to affect it. All those ducks that leave in my opinion are teal and wood ducks that are leaving because of the weather not three or four hours of shooting. If the DNR opened an early teal and wood duck season I would be all over it.

To those that participated I hope you had a good time. I know I will be doing it for the next nine years if the DNR keeps it up.

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Scott M

Wow, 20,000! That blows my mind. I know they counted kids or wanted them to register, but 20K? Geez. Better see some results down the road...

Great points NR. I couldn't agree more...Section of Fisheries is active, doing lake and stream surveys, stocking, etc. Section of Wildlife? Not so much. I see a lot of WMAs in disrepair, little work towards actual stated habitat goals, and little more than a few fly overs and roadside counts, nothing new or different. Where is the leadership, drive, and work towards improvement, in habitat maintenance and acquisition?

I'd like to see something different tried. I guess in the DNR's defense, there were some waterfowl hunting changes that died in the last omnibus bill.

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