Duck opener looks like a success

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 25, 2012 - 10:10 PM
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A wood duck and a redhead were among the ducks bagged at one duck camp on Lake Christina on Saturday.

Photo: Doug Smith, Dml -

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Despite a stiff northwest wind on the eve of Minnesota's duck opener -- which likely pushed some ducks from the state -- the waterfowl season started with a bang for many hunters.

"It was generally good," said Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist for the Department of Natural Resources.

In the Grand Rapids area, hunters averaged close to three ducks apiece, and at Mud Goose wildlife management area in Cass County, hunters averaged 3.6 ducks.

"Two per hunter is fair, three is good and anything above three is excellent," Cordts said.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr hunted Mud Goose with his two kids and two friends, and they did very well. His son, Hunter, 14, shot five ducks by 9 a.m. Saturday and daughter Jocelyn, 12, got her very first duck, a drake mallard.

"There were lots of woodies, teal, ringnecks, mallards and geese,'' Landwehr reported. "It seems like everyone almost filled out.''

At Roseau River wildlife area, hunters averaged two ducks, and at Thief Lake they averaged 3.3 ducks Saturday, despite difficulty accessing the lake.

At famed Swan Lake in southern Minnesota, hunters averaged about 2.5 ducks on the north end of the lake, and four ducks per hunter on the south end. Redheads were the most prevalent, followed by blue-winged teal, wood ducks and mallards.

"Limits were seen within an hour of the opening volley,'' reported conservation officer Greg Abraham.

Over on the Mississippi River near La Crescent, many hunters shot six-bird limits, mostly wood ducks and teal.

In the west, hunting was excellent near Willmar, with teal and wood ducks the main species in the bag. And success was good near Marshall, where hunters primarily shot mallards, teal, shovelers and wood ducks.

Hunter numbers

Through Sunday, the number of state duck stamps sold was basically unchanged from last year at 69,234. The DNR sold 69,082 over the first weekend in 2011. Last year, the agency ended up selling 89,000 for the year.

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