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Duck hunting heats up across much of Minnesota

By MWA, 10/16/18, 7:45PM CDT


With all duck zones in the state now open, it seems like hunters across much of the state should have some good hunting opportunities. Based on reports from state conservation officers, many hunters have been enjoying productive hunts.

Here’s a glance at officer reports from Oct. 15:

CO Ben Huener (Roseau) started field training with COC Jacque Hughes. Duck hunters were checked on the Roseau River, Thief Lake, and Lake of the Woods. Ice started to form on the smaller bodies of water and some birds moved south while many stayed. Many hunters who found open water had good success.

CO Nicholas Prachar (Blackduck North) reports a slower week in the woods. Weather has been difficult for grouse hunters, but waterfowl hunters have been quite successful around the area.

CO Tom Hutchins (Crookston) reports spending a lot of time checking waterfowl hunters. A few divers and mallards were observed migrating through the area.

CO Steve Chihak (Moorhead) spent the week working small-game, waterfowl and deer-hunting enforcement. Waterfowl hunters fared much better as more ducks appear to be migrating into the area.

CO Troy Richards (Fergus Falls) reports additional ducks have arrived in the area. Full migration may occur before the firearms deer season.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) and COC Shane Zavodnik report angler success has increased with water temperatures falling. With the sudden changes in weather and temperature throughout the region, ducks started to filter in over the weekend. Duck hunters experienced higher-than-normal success rates for this time of year, with many bagging lesser bluebills, ring necks, mallards, and even some canvasbacks and buffleheads.

CO John Slatinski (Ray) reports about the only group of people he spoke with this past week that were happy with the weather were waterfowl hunters. Locally, the number and different species of ducks showing up in bags is ahead of most years by several weeks. As of Sunday, most of the waterfowl that had been around the past several days appear to have headed south with a lull in birds coming in from the north.

CO Mike Fairbanks (Deer River) checked anglers, worked waterfowl activity, handled trespassing complaints and attended K9 medical training. Many ducks were seen in the area this past week.

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked waterfowl activity with another good batch of ducks coming into the area.

CO Bret Grundmeier (Hinckley) reports an increase in duck-hunting activity. Large numbers of geese came through the area throughout the week and hunters also saw good numbers of mallards and teal.

CO Caleb Silgjord (Sauk Centre) started field training with COC Tony Elwell. Some duck hunters were checked as well and there is still a decent number of birds in the area with some new birds showing up with the colder weather.

CO Phil Mohs (Center City) focused on hunting activity. Area duck hunters have reported a lull in the action, but some hunters have found plenty of ducks.

CO Alexander Birdsall (Waconia) reports an excellent southern zone reopener for migratory waterfowl. Hunters expressed their surprise to see so many birds during the early morning hours. A good variety of duck species were found in the bag.

CO Luke Gutzwiller (White Bear Lake) continued to work angling and waterfowl activity. Cool weather throughout brought a number of migrating ducks into the area.

CO Joe Kulhanek (Hastings) spent a busy weekend working waterfowl hunters and the pheasant opener. Duck hunting was very good in the area but hunters had poor success for pheasants.

CO Matt Loftness (Marshall) reports prairie grasslands and sloughs were full of hunters for the pheasant opener and the reopening of the southern zone waterfowl season. Standing crops, flooded grass and snow on Sunday made things challenging for pheasant hunters. Waterfowl hunters had the most success with the teal and wood ducks that were still hanging around.

CO Nicholas Klehr (Litchfield) checked archery and duck-hunting activity. Duck hunters were having success with more birds coming into the area.

CO Chris Howe (St. Peter) spent time checking pheasant and waterfowl hunters. Waterfowl hunters were also having success, with new migrants being reported. Cold weather should continue to move new birds into the area.

CO Tom Hemker (Winona) reports starting Phase 3 of field training with COC Tyler Ramaker. Time was spent checking anglers and waterfowl hunters on the Mississippi between Winona and La Crescent. High water levels and abundant duck numbers resulted in a successful weekend for waterfowl hunters. Duck hunters averaged about three birds per hunter.

CO Kevin Prodzinski (Wabasha) reports working a busy second opener of the 2018 waterfowl season on the Mississippi River. Hunters were out in force on both Saturday and Sunday and the birds were available and willing to cooperate. Some limits were checked as well as many happy hunters.

CO Kylan Hill (Zumbrota) reports working a heavy weekend of waterfowl enforcement. Duck hunters made a good showing for the second opener and bagged a nice variety of birds. Wigeon, teal, buffleheads and ring-necked ducks dominated the bag with a few gadwall, mallards, wood ducks, redheads, and canvasbacks mixed in. Hill was happy to see that compliance was excellent.