Minnesota duck numbers up 24 percent; August goose hunt planned


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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It's a bad weekend to be a duck in Minnesota

About 80,000 hunters will be lurking among the reeds as waterfowl season gets under way in the state. This is the earliest opening since World War II. Dry conditions will force the birds to be more concentrated and should make for good hunting, the DNR says.

Minnesota hunters expected to see more deer, harvest less this year

Hunters in Minnesota are expected to see more deer than last year after the mild winter and early spring, but fewer hunters have antlerless deer tags this fall, the Duluth News Tribune reports. This is because the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is trying to conserve the number of does this year. “We’re going to see more deer and kill less deer,” Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association based in Grand Rapids, told the newspaper.