Dry, dry, dry.
That’s the forecast for Minnesota’s duck season, which opens Sept. 22. Conditions are dry across most the state and worst in the northwest and the southwest, said Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji.
Cordts urged duck hunters to scout the areas they plan to hunt and to be prepared for alternatives in launching boats.
While conditions aren’t likely to be as bad in Northeastern Minnesota as other areas of the state, here are conditions hunters might encounter:
1. Wetlands may have shrunken, leaving large mud flats between boat landings and the water. Hunters may have to slog across those mud flats or drag boats to the water.
2. Where wetlands have receded, there may be little or no vegetation for hunters to hide in at the water’s edge.
3. Some wetlands may have dried up completely.
4. Wild rice crops were poor this fall, and no rice is present on some areas that usually hold rice. That means ducks may not stay in the area as long as they normally would.
Cordts said good numbers of teal and wood ducks, species that offer early-season action, are present in good numbers now but more concentrated because of the low water.
The duck season is opening as early as it has in 45 years in Minnesota, so it’s more likely that cold weather won’t come before the season, driving those early migrants such as teal and wood ducks farther south.
Reports from Canada indicate that the migration may start early this year, Cordts said.
“There are snow geese around (in Canada) already,” he said. “It was an early spring. Geese nested 7 to 14 days earlier than normal.”