Hunter success was just slightly below average the five-year average on three popular waterfowl lakes for the 2017 waterfowl hunting opener in the Grand Rapids area. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife staff conducted waterfowl bag checks on opening day Sept. 23 on 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 two. The average take the previous five years was 2.2 ducks per hunter.
Blue-winged teal, wood ducks and mallard ducks were the most common birds in the bag with blue-winged teal the most commonly bagged bird at all three lakes.
Based on vehicle counts at these lakes, hunter numbers were down about 25 percent from the five-year average.
“Hunters had to contend with an early morning thunderstorm which may have kept hunter numbers lower than in previous years. Some hunters delayed going out or decided to try another day because of the rain and lightning from the storm,” said Mark Spoden, acting area wildlife manager.
This year’s duck hunting season is 60 days in length. The duck bag limit is six ducks daily and may not include more than any combination of the following: four mallards (two may be hen mallard), three scaup, three wood ducks, one pintail, two redheads, two black ducks, and two canvasbacks. If not listed, up to six ducks of a species may be taken. The daily bag limit for coot and moorhen is 15. The daily bag limit for merganser is five, no more than two of which may be a hooded merganser.
More information about waterfowl hunting in Minnesota including weekly waterfowl migration reports can be found at online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.