Are Minnesota’s duck hunting regulations too liberal, resulting in hunters killing too many ducks?

Or have recent liberal regulations simply given hunters more opportunities, boosting hunter numbers without harming duck populations?

That hot-button topic is one of many waterfowl issues that will be discussed Saturday at the annual Minnesota Waterfowl Symposium at the Ramada Hotel in Bloomington. The free conference runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The panel discussion and question-and-answer session dealing with the recent liberalization of waterfowl regulations is timely.

Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowed northern states to offer early September teal seasons; several states did, but not Minnesota

A survey of Minnesota duck hunters is being conducted now, and among the questions is whether they support an early teal season.

A major concern by opponents is that other duck species will be mistakenly shot during such a season. Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa held early teal seasons, and officials from those states recently reported that just 4.9 percent of ducks killed were non-teal.

The Fish and Wildlife Service had set the maximum non-target kill rate at 10 percent.

That session will feature Dave Zentner, representing the Concerned Duck Hunters Group, which believes the regulations now are too liberal, Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner, and Jim Kelly, Fish and Wildlife Service Mississippi Flyway representative.

Other symposium topics include: Redhead ecology and management; shallow lake management and the role of the Outdoor Heritage Fund in it for waterfowl; grass-roots conservation; antique decoy collecting; the importance of waterfowl banding; American coots and the implementation of the Minnesota Prairie Plan.

Hall of Fame

After the symposium, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association (MWA) will convene its sixth annual Hall of Fame Banquet to recognize major contributors to the state’s waterfowl legacy. Those being recognized are Herman Becker, George Herter, Carl Madsen, John Molkenbur, Richard Plasschaert, Ron Schara and Dave Vesall. Tickets are $45. For more information, call the MWA at 952-767-0320 or see mnwaterfowl.com.