Duck hunters at Canosia Wildlife Management Area near Duluth, hampered by low water levels on last Saturday’s duck opener, averaged .69 ducks per hunter, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The DNR conducts a waterfowl bag check on opening day every year.
Over the last five years, the average number of ducks bagged per hunter has ranged from 0.14 to 1.28, so this year’s success rate of 0.69 was about average, wildlife officials said. Wood ducks comprised 50 percent of the total harvest and were the most common duck in the bag. Mallards were second at 17 percent, and a mix of blue-winged teal, green-winged teal and hooded mergansers rounded out the total.
Based on car counts, hunter numbers were about the same as last year.
Water levels were drawn down on the pools at the Canosia WMA to allow for dam repairs earlier in the summer. Despite the low water levels, and generally sparse wild rice, hunters were able to get around and find birds. The dam repairs completed this year will allow the pool to be near normal for next year. This should improve hunter access and hopefully lead to a better rice crop.
Minnesota’s duck season continues through Nov. 19 in the North Zone (north of Minnesota Highway 210.