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2021 Waterfowl Hunting Reports by Troy Smutka, Great Day on the Water Guide Service


Troy Smutka

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Hi everyone. It has been a slow start to the 2021 waterfowl season in MN. A combination of a bunch of factors including very low water conditions and fewer wetlands, much warmer than normal temperatures, and a lot of shooting on MN lakes and wetlands in September has led to not a lot of resident ducks left around, those that are around not moving much, and a delay in the migration of ducks and geese from the north. The saving grace for this season for me has been watching my nine year old son graduate from coming with and watching, to fully participating. Practice shooting and calling this summer has him calling and harvesting birds with a 20 gauge, and a pair of waders has him helping with decoy set up and take down. He has shot his first duck of multiple species already, and his Dad and Grandpa have managed a few ducks while letting Parker take the singles that have come in. This past weekend, we finally saw some migrating flocks of canvasbacks and gadwalls, so the calendar migration is starting, albeit a couple weeks late. Should be some good pushes of ducks into MN the next couple weeks, so good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Those are some really nice firsts for Parker, especially in MN.  Good job Dad!

We haven’t been seeing a lot of first year birds this year either so the ones that are around are adults and NOT dumb!

 

I like your goose decoys.  What brand?  Couldn’t make it out in the shot with Parker holding the keel up.

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  • 1 month later...

The last 3 weekends were good. More mallards than normal, but didn’t get any divers which is usually  our bread and butter. 

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Finish to the 2021 season was relatively slow, much like the first half. We did get some nice flocks of ringers to work the decoys, and some new mallards showed up and were somewhat cooperative. Finally got our first nice flock of bluebills to pitch right in to the decoys on our last day on the water. Once most water started to freeze, we finished the season in a field near my Dad's over Thanksgiving break. On one day we got several groups of mallards to drop right in and nearly land on our A-Frame blind, plus a goose. One other day we got a pair of geese to center up nicely over the decoys. Decent end to the season. With my son shooting one shell for his first season shooting, he got first crack at singles, and when multiples came in my Dad shot, while I backed up Parker first, then took one bird if he folded his clean. This led to fewer birds harvested than a typical season, but seeing my son take his next step as a hunter and harvest almost thirty ducks and three geese was well worth taking fewer shots than normal myself. My Dad was able to harvest near normal for him for a season, and Parker is getting the nicest bull can in the pictures mounted. I will be back in the fishing report clubs as soon as there is enough ice to get out on safely. Good luck and I will see you out there somewhere.

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Wanderer,

     I have a mixed spread of goose floaters. In the picture Parker is wrapping up a Dakota Honker, but I also have Dakota Lessers, Avian X, Final Approach, and Greenhead Gear floaters for a spread with a wide variety of sizes, body positions, and head positions. Sentries, swimmers, greeters, actives, drinkers, resters, and sleepers, depending on the brand.

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