Minnesota Duck Opener Slower Than Usual In Grand Rapids Area

A successful duck hunter returns to his blind during an early-season hunt. (News Tribune file photo)
A successful duck hunter returns to his blind during an early-season hunt. (News Tribune file photo)

Minnesota’s waterfowl season opener on Saturday came with gray and sometimes wet skies across much of northern Minnesota.

Hunter success was below average on three popular waterfowl lakes on opening day in the Grand Rapids area, Department of Natural Resources area wildlife manager Perry Loegering reported. DNR wildlife staff conducted waterfowl bag checks at Big White Oak Lake, Mud Lake (both near Deer River) and Big Rice Lake near Remer.

Hunter success in terms of ducks bagged per hunter was about the same at all three lakes at 1.6 ducks per hunter, Loegering reported. The average take the previous five years was 2.3 ducks per hunter.

Blue-winged teal, ring-necked ducks and wood ducks were the most common birds in the bag Wood ducks were the most commonly bagged bird at White Oak, blue-winged teal at Mud Lake and ring-necked duck at Big Rice Lake.

“Blue-winged teal and wood ducks usually migrate out of the state at the first cold snap, so we are lucky when we have good numbers still around when the season opens like this year,” Loegering said. “Ringnecks usually start migrating into the state in late September, and some probably have arrived.”

Based on car counts, hunter numbers were up about 7 percent from the five-year average.