St. Paul – Federal waterfowl frameworks would have allowed Minnesota hunters a daily bag limit of three wood ducks this fall.
The frameworks would have allowed them to kill two hen mallards a day. But state officials opted to go the conservative route, and will allow two wood ducks and one hen mallard in the daily bag.
The overall bag limit is six ducks, and the season will open Saturday, Oct. 2 and run for 60 days.
It’s the third consecutive year the state could have offered a three-bird wood duck bag, but instead opted to stay at two. Some hunters have asked the DNR to allow three wood ducks per day, while others believe two is enough and note the state’s importance for production, said Dave Schad, Fish and Wildlife Division director.
“We were hearing some, but not an overwhelming desire from hunters to add that third wood duck to the bag,” he said.
The agency has taken a conservative approach to harvest issues and “didn’t see the need to expand it this year,” Schad said.
The hen mallard limit has been one since 2005, and it is well supported by hunters, he said. Additionally, the state is an important one from a production standpoint, so “we’re in a little different spot than most states in the flyway because of that,” Schad said.
Following are the duck limits this fall: mallards (four, with one hen); wood ducks (two); pintails (two); redheads (two); bluebills (two); hooded mergansers (two); canvasbacks (one); black ducks (one).
The season is similar to last year, though hunters will be allowed an additional pintail. While the continental pintail population is similar to last year (about 3.5 million), the increased bag limit is the result of a new management strategy all four flyways adopted, said Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist for the DNR.