Minnesota's duck season opens at noon on Saturday, Sept. 29. The daily limit is six and the possession limit is 12. The season ends Nov. 27.
Tungsten-iron-nickel alloy shot, commonly known as Hevishot, is legal along with other nontoxic options.
Duck numbers are similar to last year. The mallard breeding population in Minnesota was estimated at 321,000. Mallards have been above 300,000 since 1992 and remain 55 percent above average since the survey began in 1968.
Blue-winged teal numbers declined 24 percent from last year and are 39 percent below the long-term average. Last week, however, good numbers of teal reportedly were seen on area lakes.
Canvasbacks are legal targets from Oct. 13 through Nov. 1. The daily limit is one and the possession limit is two. Canvasbacks cannot be taken Sept. 29-Oct. 12 and Nov. 2-27.
"The drakes are relatively easy to identify on the wing because they show more white than any other duck," said Ray Norrgard, DNR wetland wildlife program leader. "But canvasback hens can be pretty tough to differentiate from other hens."
Though found statewide, canvasbacks are most common in southeastern and western Minnesota.
The DNR will provide a weekly statewide waterfowl migration report on the agency Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us. By comparing the reports with weather forecasts, hunters can guess where ducks might be concentrated from week to week.
"Cold fronts, high winds and rain tend to move ducks," Norrgard said.
Duck hunters are reminded to get HIP certificatin prior to heading out on the opener. License agents ask buyers if they will hunt migratory birds this year and if they hunted them last year. A hunter cannot legally hunt migratory birds unless they answer yes. Duck hunters who already bought licenses but did not answer yes must go to an ELS agent and get HIP certified at no charge.
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