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Troy Smutka

Central MN Waterfowl Hunting Reports by Great Day on the Water Guide Service

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Troy Smutka

10/11/16 Central MN

     Decent first three weekends of the waterfowl season in central MN. Been water hunting only so far, on permanent water. Ducks are dispersed with all the temporary flood water around from all the rain. Crops are slowly coming out, will probably be behind schedule due to wet conditions. We have harvested mallards, wood ducks, BWT, GWT, shovelers, pintails, redheads, ringnecks, ruddy ducks,and Canada geese so far. Locals the first two weekends, but the cold front last week move a lot of local ducks out and a few new birds moved in out of ND and Canada. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

Dad with a goose, mallard, ruddy duck, bluewing teal, wood duck, ringneck and redheads from Todd Lake.jpg

I got this goose on Cedar Lake in late September.jpg

A mallard and wood duck taken in late September.jpg

Me with a wood duck, greenwing teal, and pintail from Todd Lake.jpg

Me and Dad with mallards and a goose from Todd Lake.jpg

Me and Dad with blue wing teal, a shoveler, and a goose from Cedar..jpg

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fish_hunt_guy

Nice report Smuts. Keep them coming!

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Troy Smutka

10/23/16     Central MN

     Cold front last week and again this morning brought new ducks into central MN. Mainly observed migrating flocks of ringnecks, wigeon, gadwalls, canvasbacks, and mallards--calendar migrators from ND and southern Canada most likely. Had a few good days of duck hunting from a boat on a couple mid-sized shallow lakes. It is that time of the year for calendar migrators. Any time you can get out over the next couple weeks during or the day after a strong west or NW wind, or the day after a cold, clear night with a light westerly wind go for it. Soon these ducks will blow through and we will be waiting for the hardy Canadian ducks that stay just south of the snow and ice line. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

11/13/16     Some new birds moved into central MN with the cold nights Thursday and Friday. We saw thirteen species of ducks as well as large Canada geese, small Canada geese, snow geese, and specklebellies. Harvested a large Canada goose and seven species of ducks this weekend. Seemed a little like the late October migration a little late. You know the weather, and the migration, are unusual when you decoy wood ducks and goldeneyes on the same 60 degree day in mid November in MN! Sounds like some cold and wind coming at the end of this week--should have some more birds coming through. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Me with a trophy drake wigeon from Cedar Lake.jpg

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Troy Smutka

11/28/16     Not the usual activity we expect over the Thanksgiving weekend, but what can you expect with March-like conditions. Warm temps, fog, and even rain made for an anti-climatic conclusion to the duck season. We harvested mallards, bluebills, ringnecks, goldeneyes and a goose hunting from a boat right up to the last day of the season. Had to break a skin of ice in spots on Saturday, but not bad for the end of November. Gonna try some goose hunting in the fields the next couple weeks if it gets cold enough to get the birds feeding regularly and to firm up the muddy fields we have right now. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

9/25/17     Hunted the hot, steamy MN duck opener on a public lake in central MN. Could see lightning to the west and north all morning until the sun came up. Must have been some serious lightning in those storms that were 100 miles away. Could still see the flashes, but of course could not hear any thunder. Saturday morning we saw the most bluewing teal I have seen on an opener since the 1980s. Must have seen a thousand teal and hundreds of mallards and wood ducks. Weren't in the best spot since we were the third boat on the lake, but still managed to shoot some teal and wood ducks. Busy watching ducks all morning. The teal I cleaned were migrators with quite a bit of fat--none on the wood ducks. Sunday morning was a different day--most of the teal were gone and the mallards and wood ducks were more wary. Managed two juvenile mallards. Think the shooting and the weather front moving in got a lot of the BWT on their way further south. All in all, a decent start to the MN waterfowl season, especially considering the temps were more like mid August. See what this weather and some cooler temps brings to the decoys this weekend. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

10/1/17  Got out twice before the rain on Sunday. Hunted a large shallow lake in central MN. Two dozen goose floaters, a dozen mallards, and half-dozen pintails made up our decoy spread. We harvested a goose, mallards, ringnecks, a gadwall, and a greenwing teal. Not a ton of birds moving, but what we saw wanted into our decoys. Need a cold front with strong west or NW winds to get some new birds into MN. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

10/8/17     Central MN waterfowl hunting. Got out both days this weekend on a large, shallow lake in central MN. Sat through light rain Saturday until about 8 am. Low ceiling until about 10 am, so what was flying was tough to decoy. Had one goose when the skies brightened and the wind picked up a bit. Stuck it out until about 1 pm, and added another goose, three pintails, a redhead, and a gadwall. Cool and clear Saturday night had bluewing teal migrating, along with other puddlers out of the Dakotas on Sunday. With clear skies and a brisk North wind, we decoyed lots of ducks, and shot O.K. Got four bluewing teal, four wigeon, three gadwalls, and one redhead. Saw several flocks of 30 to 50 bluewing teal, and a couple flocks of canvasbacks that were shootable, but wouldn't quite center up so we passed. A couple cold mornings and some north and NW winds the first half of this week should have most of the teal we saw head on out, but should bring in more "calendar migrators." Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

 

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Troy Smutka

10/15/17     Hunted a large, shallow lake both days this weekend. Shot a goose, two pintails, a wigeon, and a greenwing teal on Saturday. Noticed some new mallards and canvasbacks showing up during the day. Got out Sunday, and after the rain and fog, the wind stabilized out of the WNW and the sun started peeking out. Decoyed singles to flocks of twenty-five. Harvested mallards, canvasbacks, ringnecks, a wigeon, and a pintail. Steady action all morning. The calendar migrators from the Dakotas are starting to trickle in! Should see a bunch more with the next strong west or northwest wind. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

10/22/17     Hunted water in central MN from a boat blind both days. Despite gusty south winds one day and temps not exactly October-like, new ducks were around that moved in during a cold, clear night with a west wind during the week. Calendar migrators from the Dakotas and southern Canada. Saw eleven species and harvested ten--typical late October mixed bag. A mixed, medium-sized decoy spread with a crosswind on a point with the sun behind us was the ticket. An Avery Quick Set blind with fast grass mats and two Lucky Duck HD spinners rounded out the set-up. Subtle mallard quacks, chuckles, and drake whistles mixed with goose clucks, pintail and wigeon whistles locked up birds nice and close--no loud contest calling. Cold weather and West and NW winds this week should get a bunch of new birds in--probably a mixed bag of species still. We saw or heard eight flocks of specklebellies migrating on Sunday. Look for a show about one of these days of hunting on my You Tube channel (Fishing and Hunting the North Country) by later in the week.  Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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tealitup

Where do you hunt out of and what are your rates?  Your website does not say.

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Troy Smutka

tealitup,

     I do not guide hunting trips, just fishing and ice fishing. Doing this as a second job, I do not make enough money at it to pay for the insurance to guide hunting trips. Once guns are involved, the insurance gets much more expensive than with fishing rods. Sorry. I still write articles, make videos, and record my You Tube show about waterfowl hunting, and post reports here.

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Troy Smutka

10/29/17     Slower in central MN this weekend--not as many new birds around as we had hoped for. Did see enough ducks to keep us on our toes and harvested some mallards. A buddy also took a nice drake goldeneye to mount for his office wall. Cold week ahead with a couple chances of some snow showers will hopefully bring down some of the birds still in Canada. The Dakota ducks staging in MN have been here long enough that they are getting pretty wary. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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monstermoose78

Keep the posts coming Troy! I enjoying seeing all the reports

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Barbelboy

I agree. As a guy with little kids and wife who works weekends I enjoy living vicariously through your reports!

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Troy Smutka

Thanks guys. We do try to shoot only drake mallards, but divers can be a bit tricky when they buzz through at high speed. With my 70 year old Dad still hunting with eyes not quite what they were and a 13 year old son of my good friend hunting with us, we do wind up getting some hens despite our intentions. Want my Dad to enjoy waterfowling  for however many seasons he has left in him. While trying to educate the new hunter, we don't want to discourage him either. Hope everyone understands our mistakes from time to time. Thanks.

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Troy Smutka

11/5/17      Got three days of duck hunting in before we start losing a lot of the water to ice. Very cold temps coming up this week. Got spoiled hunting open water to the last day of the season the past few years, but probably not going to happen this year. Cold front and snow had huge numbers of bluebills moving through central MN this weekend. Some new mallards moved in as well, and a lot of geese started showing up. Good variety and numbers of birds. Decoyed flocks of up to 100 bluebills and lots of groups of twenty to thirty mallards. Only shot one bird each per group and avoided buffleheads, hoodies, and ringnecks (a couple of ringers flying with bluebills fell) to make the days last longer. Hopefully the rivers, high and fast for this time of year, hold mallards and geese for some field hunting as the corn is finally coming out. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Troy Smutka

11/12/17     Found some larger lakes open in central MN this weekend, even though a lot of the smaller stuff has frozen. Still a lot of divers around, and a ton of mallards and big geese. Targeted ducks both days and saw mallards, wigeon, shovelers, greenwing teal, bluebills, ringnecks, canvasbacks, buffleheads, goldeneyes, hooded mergansers, and common mergansers as well as swans and Canada geese. Were selective about what we harvested and got some pretty, fat late season birds. Warm the beginning of the upcoming week, then cooling again. If we can find water open next weekend, we will be on it. Otherwise to the fields--lots of mallards and geese to be had there. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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fish_hunt_guy

Love the reports Smuts. Looks like another great season. Keep it going!

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Troy Smutka

11/27/17     Thanks fish hunt guy. It was a good season. Kind of ended with a bit of a fizzle over Thanksgiving, but can't complain. Got out on some big water once, and shot a pair of ringnecks. Didn't see much else. Got out in the field for mallards and geese twice. By myself one day, and of course that is when the mallards decided to work. Decoyed over a thousand in three bunches, and took one greenhead from each bunch. Got my Dad and five year old son out the other time, but didn't see a lot and nothing decoyed. Oh well, Parker still had a blast on his first field hunt. That's it for me--waiting for the cold to return and the ice to form for some fishing to start up. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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