Minnesota duck hunters will see a season framework similar to last year’s, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced today. The state’s regular waterfowl season will open a half-hour before sunrise on Sept. 26, with similar bag limits and season dates that were in place last year.
Duck season will be open for 60 days in each of the three waterfowl zones.
In the north zone, duck season is Sept. 26 through Nov. 24.
In the central zone, duck season is Sept. 26 through Oct. 4, closes for five days, then reopens Oct. 10, and runs through Nov. 29.
In the south zone, duck season is Sept. 26 through Oct. 4, closes for 10 days, then reopens Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 4.
The only bag limit change from the 2015 season is for canvasbacks, which increases from one to two per day. The daily duck bag limit remains six ducks per day. The mallard bag limit remains four per day, including two hen mallards. The daily bag limits remain at three for wood ducks and three for scaup.
The waterfowl seasons are based on a federal framework that applies to all states in the Mississippi Flyway.
More information on duck, goose, sandhill crane and other migratory bird hunting seasons will be available in the 2015 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations, available in mid-August in booklet form and online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.
All states in the Mississippi Flyway were offered the option for a September teal season or two bonus blue-winged teal during the regular season. Minnesota did not participate in either teal option last year and again made the choice not to take a teal season or bonus blue-winged teal option this year.
Mallard abundance from a continental spring survey that includes Minnesota is used to determine overall duck season length. This year’s estimate was 11.8 million mallards, which was well above the long-term average. Since 1997, duck season length has been 60 days each year and the mallard population has ranged from 6.8 million to 11.8 million mallards.
“The status of mallards, and most other species of ducks important to Minnesota hunters, is very good this year based on spring populations surveys,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist.
Youth waterfowl day
Youth Waterfowl Day will be Sept. 12. Hunters ages 15 and under may take regular season bag limits when accompanied by an adult age 18 or older.
Canada goose seasons and limits
Canada goose hunting is open in the three duck zones, and also in an intensive harvest zone. For a map of the intensive zone and other information, see www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.
The early September Canada goose season will open statewide on Sept. 5, and run through Sept. 22. Bag limits for Canada geese are 10 per day in the intensive harvest zone (west-central Minnesota) and five per day in the rest of the state. A $4 permit is required to hunt Canada geese during the September season.
Minnesota’s regular goose season will open in conjunction with the duck season statewide on Sept. 26, with a bag limit of three dark geese per day the entire season. “Dark” geese include Canada geese, white-fronted geese, and brant. Goose season will be closed in the central and south duck zones when duck season is closed.
Sandhill crane season
The season for sandhill cranes is Sept. 12 Oct. 18 in the northwest goose and sandhill crane zone only. The daily bag limit will be one sandhill crane per day. A $3 sandhill crane permit is required in addition to a small game hunting license.