Waterfowl season dates and limits, including significant changes designed to allow hunters to harvest more Canada geese, have been established for the fall season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Additional details on the duck, goose and migratory bird hunting seasons will be available in the 2010 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations, which will be available at DNR license agents and online later this month.
The regular waterfowl season will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, and continue through Tuesday, Nov. 30. The daily bag limit remains at six ducks, which may include no more than one hen mallard, one black duck, one canvasback, two pintail, two wood ducks, two redheads and two scaup. Possession limits remain at twice the daily bag limits.
Except for opening day, when shooting hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., shooting hours will be from one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. daily through Saturday, Oct. 9, and from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset beginning Sunday, Oct. 10, through the end of duck season.
Motorized decoys or other motorized devices designed to attract migratory birds may not be used from the opening day of duck season through Saturday, Oct. 9. Motorized decoys or other motorized devices designed to attract migratory birds may not be used at any time during the season on water bodies and lands fully contained within state wildlife management area (WMA) boundaries.
Youth Waterfowl Day
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day will be held Saturday, Sept. 18. Hunters younger than 16 may take regular season bag limits when accompanied by a nonhunting adult (age 18 and older, no license required). Canada geese, mergansers, coots and moorhens may be taken from one half-hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. As of this year, all youth hunters are now required to obtain a free hunting license, including youth participating in the youth waterfowl hunt.
Regular Canada Goose Seasons
Minnesota goose hunters will note some significant changes in goose hunting regulations this year. The daily bag limit has been raised to three Canada geese statewide this year; the season length has been extended throughout the state; most goose hunting zones have been eliminated and there will no longer be a special December season.
“We’re attempting to provide additional hunting opportunity aimed at resident giant Canada geese,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist.
Historically, Minnesota goose hunters were very dependent on the Eastern Prairie Population (EPP) of Canada geese. These geese nest along the west shores of Hudson Bay and migrate into western Minnesota, especially around Lac qui Parle WMA.
Minnesota has a long history of using special regulations, including goose zones, quotas, smaller bag limits and shorter seasons, to minimize harvest of EPP Canada geese in western Minnesota. But EPP goose numbers are as high as they’ve ever been and more than 90 percent of the state’s Canada goose harvest now is comprised of giant Canada geese.
“Since our resident giant Canada goose population remains high, this is a good time to expand hunting opportunity,” Cordts said. “Minnesota has not had a Canada goose bag limit of three during the regular waterfowl season since 1941 so this is fairly exciting and should be well-received by goose hunters.”
As a result of these changes, the West Central and West goose zones have been eliminated so goose seasons in those areas will be the same as the rest of the state.
At Lac qui Parle WMA, waterfowl hunters still will be required to obtain a daily permit for a blind (via reservation or daily drawing) from Oct. 21 to Nov. 30. From Dec. 1 until the end of goose season, hunters still can use designated hunting blinds but access will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Hunters should consult the 2010 Waterfowl Regulations for additional information or contact Lac qui Parle WMA for further details.
Minnesota’s regular goose season will open statewide in conjunction with duck season on Saturday, Oct. 2, and close on Saturday, Dec. 25, except for the Rochester goose zone.
Canada goose season dates in the Rochester zone will be Saturday, Oct. 2, through Tuesday, Dec. 7. The season will reopen Thursday, Dec. 16, and conclude Sunday, Jan. 2.
“The Rochester goose zone will use the same boundaries as deer permit area 343 so hunters should be familiar with that,” Cordts said. “During our public input meetings, goose hunters around Rochester wanted to maintain some sort of split in the goose season but also extend the season a little later so this should accommodate those desires.”
Early Canada Goose Season
The early Canada goose season will open statewide on Saturday, Sept. 4, and conclude on Wednesday, Sept. 22. Bag limits for Canada geese will be five per day.
A $4 permit is required for goose hunters during the September season. Permits are available wherever hunting and angling licenses are sold and online.
The restriction prohibiting hunting within 100 yards of surface water remains in effect in the northwestern Minnesota, Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area and an area surrounding Swan Lake in Nicollet County.
Early season goose hunters should consult the 2010 Waterfowl Hunting Regulations Supplement for details.
Sandhill Crane Season
A sandhill crane hunting season will open in northwestern Minnesota on Saturday, Sept. 4, and conclude Sunday, Oct. 10.
All hunters are required to obtain a mandatory sandhill crane hunting permit, available from any DNR license agent or online for $3.50. No other licenses, permits or stamps are required.
No crane hunting is allowed within 100 yards of surface water through Wednesday, Sept. 22. This same restriction applies to Canada goose hunters in this zone.
Bag limits are two sandhill cranes per day. Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise until sunset until duck season opens, when shooting hours for sandhill cranes are the same as for waterfowl.
Plugged shotguns and non-toxic shot are required for sandhill crane hunting.
Sandhill crane hunters should consult the 2010 Waterfowl Hunting Regulations for additional details.