The Minnesota DNR has unveiled a report that details participation and harvest during the 2016 small-game seasons in the state, and there’s reason for concern. Chief among them is the fact that hunters bought fewer than 253,000 small-game licenses, which are necessary to hunt everything from ducks to squirrels. It’s been decades since small-game license sales have been so low. As recently as 2008, hunters purchased more than 290,000 small-game licenses.
State duck stamp sales also declined in 2016, the second year in a row that’s occurred. Hunters bought 88,905 duck stamps, which compares to the nearly 102,000 they bought a decade ago. In addition, the number of people who hunted ducks in Minnesota in 2016 – 67,301 – was well below the previous year and among the lowest number ever. So it isn’t surprising that the total duck harvest fell, too – from 663,811 in 2015 to 606,458 last year. The estimated harvest per duck hunter was nine birds, which compares favorably with the past 10 years.
The number of Canada geese each hunter killed on average – five – also is among the highest in the past decade. Yet, the estimated number of goose hunters – just less than 41,000 – was the lowest in more than a decade. The total goose harvest of nearly 205,000 was higher than 2015, but otherwise below where it’s been for the past 10 years or so.
If you want to read the entire report, you can do so here.