Minnesota duck numbers up 24 percent; August goose hunt planned

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Minnesota's population of breeding ducks is up more than 20 percent over last year, the DNR says.

Lakes that stayed ice-covered through much of the spring had spawned worries that waterfowl numbers would suffer. But the DNR's annual count found more ducks than in 2012. The increase was greatest among mallards, which were up 30 percent.

Canada goose numbers did decline compared to last year. But the quarter-of-a-million geese in the state are well above the DNR's target. That's leading to a first-ever special August goose hunt. The agency announced the hunt will open Saturday Aug. 10th and run through Sunday the 25th.

The Start Tribune reported earlier this month that farmers, particularly in west-central Minnesota, are losing more of their crops to the big goose population. The newspaper notes the August hunt is one of several ways -- including an earlier opener, and higher bag limits and possession limits -- that waterfowl hunting regulations are becoming less strict.

Here's the announcement from the DNR.

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