Last cold front pushed new ducks into Minnesota

A yellow Lab hustles back with a drake wood duck during a southwestern Minnesota hunt in October. (Sam Cook photo)

Here’s this week’s Minnesota duck hunting update from Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The report was issued Thursday:

Duck hunting success was good to excellent late last week and over the weekend with a very noticeable influx of migrant ducks into the state. Ducks began arriving with the cold front last Thursday and hunting remained good through the weekend in most areas. Hunter bags included large numbers of mallards and a good diversity of other dabbling ducks and diving ducks in the bag. Scaup numbers increased in some locations and good numbers of goldeneyes and buffleheads are now present in the state. Most reports indicated that hunting success had declined by early this week, which is typical at this time of the year.

Hunting success during mid and late season is often better around cold fronts as migrant ducks often move into, and out of, the state fairly quickly.

Canada goose numbers remained similar to last week and most reports did not indicate any major influx of Canada geese into the state with the cold front last week. Canada goose numbers and hunting success should improve dramatically with the next major cold front.

Many shallow and vegetated lakes in northern Minnesota had some ice cover last weekend but with the milder temperatures earlier this week, many of those areas have re-opened. With lows temperatures in the middle 20s tonight, those areas should be ice covered again by tomorrow morning. Most of the remainder of the state should stay ice-free into next week.

Despite some rain/snow over the past week, wetland conditions remain extremely dry across the state. With crop harvest complete, there are numerous opportunities for field hunting waterfowl.

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