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Good waterfowl opener expected this weekend

Duck hunting is expected to be good when Minnesota's regular waterfowl season opens a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 23.

"The number of breeding ducks in Minnesota and North America has been good in recent years, so we're optimistic that will result in a good duck season," said Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist with the Department of Natural Resources. "Wetland habitat conditions and wild rice lakes are in pretty good shape. Canada goose populations remain high as well, so there's lots of opportunity to hunt geese this fall."

Duck seasons and limits

The duck season structure is similar to recent years. The waterfowl seasons are based on a federal framework that applies to all states in the Mississippi Flyway. Waterfowl hunting regulations are available wherever DNR licenses are sold and online at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.

Duck season will be open for 60 days in each of the three waterfowl zones:

• In the north zone, duck season is Sept. 23 through Tuesday, Nov. 21.

• In the central zone, duck season is Sept. 23 through Sunday, Oct. 1, closes for five days, then reopens Saturday, Oct. 7, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 26.

• In the south zone, duck season is Sept. 23 through Oct. 1, closes for 12 days, then reopens Saturday, Oct. 14, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 3.

The daily duck bag limit remains six per day. The mallard bag limit remains four per day, including no more than two hen mallards. The daily bag limits are three for wood duck and scaup; and two for redheads, canvasbacks and black ducks and one for pintails.

The DNR will post a weekly waterfowl migration report each week during the duck season. The reports are typically posted on Thursday afternoon at mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

Goose and sandhill crane seasons

Minnesota's goose season will reopen in conjunction with the duck season statewide on Sept. 23, with a bag limit of three dark geese per day the entire season. "Dark" geese include Canada geese, white-fronted geese and brant. The daily bag limit for light geese is 20. "Light geese" include snow, blue and Ross's geese. Goose season will be closed in the central and south duck zones when duck season is closed.

The season for sandhill cranes remains open through Sunday, Oct. 22m in the northwest goose and sandhill crane zone only. The daily bag limit will be one sandhill crane per day. A $3 sandhill crane permit is required in addition to a small game hunting license.

More information on duck, goose, sandhill crane and other migratory bird hunting is available in the 2017 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations booklet from license vendors and online at mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

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