Dennis Anderson: Latest proposed changes to waterfowl season don't add up

Dennis Anderson, Star Tribune on

Published in Outdoors

MINNEAPOLIS — Say what you will about Minnesota waterfowl managers, they're not shy about revealing their belief that the primary reason ducks exist in Minnesota is to get shot.

As evidence, consider that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Waterfowl Committee proposed this week that a five-day Minnesota teal-hunting season be held this fall, beginning Sept. 4, the same day early goose hunting starts.

The DNR also proposes to allow over-water goose hunting statewide during the September honker season.

Following all of this, on Sept. 12-13, the DNR will again sponsor its Youth Waterfowl Weekend.

But don't worry. The reports of so many shotguns won't scatter mallards, teal, wood ducks and other waterfowl before the regular duck season opens Sept. 25.

Or so says DNR waterfowl specialist Steve Cordts, one of 12 members of the DNR Waterfowl Committee.


"I don't think these changes [a teal season, more over-water goose hunting, a two-day youth hunt rather than the original one day] will have a major impact on the regular duck opener," Cordts said, adding, "My guess is a lot of teal that hunters will shoot won't be our resident teal anyway but migratory teal."

Asked to explain how Minnesota hunters will primarily shoot "North Dakota and Canadian" teal, as Cordts described them, between Sept. 4-8, and not Minnesota teal, he conceded, "We don't actually know what proportion of migrant teal will be shot vs. local teal."

Cordts led an online event Thursday evening explaining the DNR's proposed waterfowl hunting changes. He said most duck hunters support the ideas, though he acknowledged that responses to recent DNR duck-hunter surveys haven't been fully tabulated.

In a phone interview earlier this week, Cordts also said, "I don't buy the argument that if we had more ducks we'd have more duck hunters. Whether people go hunting or not has nothing to do with duck abundance."


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