Minnesota’s 60-day duck hunting season opened with success in the west, but waterfowl scenes in other parts of the state included many reports of low bird counts.
Rain, including thunderstorms in some regions, added to an unseasonably warm weekend that reduced turnout by hunters, the reports said. In the Grand Rapids area, for instance, Mark Spoden of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimated hunter numbers were down 25 percent.
Spoden’s staff worked three lakes near Deer River and Remer. The average bag contained two ducks, slightly below the five-year average.
In Glenwood, Montevideo and Marshall, conservation officers witnessed good hunting. Most hunters in the Glenwood area checked by game warden Daniel Baumbarger had four of five birds. In Montevideo, officer Ed Picht said the opener was “very productive ... with many limits of wood ducks, teal and mallards.”
In Marshall, warden Matt Loftness said sloughs were full of hunters, with many bagging limits.
Chances were mixed in Fergus Falls, but conservation officer Troy Richards said prairie ponds provided many teal and mallard opportunities.
The outlook wasn’t as bright in places such as Elbow Lake, Crosslake, Crosby, Evansville and Brainerd. Officer Tim Collette said many waterfowl hunters in the Crosslake area did poorly. And in Brainerd, warden Randy Posner concluded: “There seemed to be low hunter numbers ... and the ducks harvested were also down.’’