Guests - If You want access to member only forums on HSO. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on HotSpotOutdoors.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Scott M

Spring duck numbers jump up in Minnesota

5 posts in this topic

Tim Spielman, Outdoor News

Bemidji, Minn.

The number of mallards nesting in Minnesota rose this year to 298,000, up 23 percent from last year’s spring survey count of 242,000 birds, according to Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. The DNR also says blue-winged teal numbers increased at the same rate, to about 152,000 birds.

The DNR wrapped up the spring survey in a mere eight days this year, compared with the more than 20-day span it took to compile 50 hours of flight time the previous four years. That no doubt influenced the survey to some degree, Cordts said, but likely more regarding teal and other ducks, than mallards.

More days spent in the air prior to 'leaf-out' allowed Cordts to better count woodies this year, too.

"There wasn’t a leaf in a tree, it was ideal conditions from the air," he said.


The mallard count this spring also was 34 percent above the long-term average of 222,000 ducks, which dates back to 1968, Cordts said. It was nearly identical to the 10-year average.

"It’s about what I expected," Cordts said, adding that numbers have been low in recent years, including a count of just 160,000 mallards in 2006.

Though bluewing numbers were up, Cordts said the population is still 28 percent below the 10-year average, and 32 percent below the long-term average.

Bluewing numbers seem to be more dynamic than those of other species, as bluewings seem to be more ’sensitive’ to wetland conditions, which were considered good in the state this year.

The combined total of ’other’ ducks species like gadwall, ringneck, redhead, wood ducks, and others ’�� increased to 290,000, about 65 percent above the long-term average. The early survey might have had a bearing on the results.

"This large increase simply reflects the late spring weather conditions and large numbers of migrant ring-necked ducks (about 100,000 counted) still present in the state when we flew the survey," Cordts said in a DNR press release. "What was more encouraging was to see small to moderate increases in the numbers of breeding wood ducks and other less common nesting species."

The total estimated breeding population of ducks in the state was 740,000, 51 percent higher than last year and 19 percent above the long-term average.

"The key is, the goal in the (state) duck plan is a 1 million-duck breeding population,’�� Cordts said. ’��We’��re still a fair bit below that ’Ķ It points to habitat issues."

Wetland habitat conditions were generally good this year; the number of wetlands increased from 262,000 last year to 325,000 this year. State duck counts are used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as it formulates a season framework for the fall hunt.

Canada geese

The estimate of Canada geese breeding in Minnesota rose from 262,000 last year to 277,000 this year, according to the DNR.

"While our goose population is still in very good shape, it appears that the breeding population is no longer increasing rapidly and may be stabilizing," DNR biologist Dave Rave said in an agency press release. "Even with the late spring this year, production should be better than last year."

Elsewhere in the Midwest

According to the Minnesota DNR, "Data on breeding duck populations across other regions of North America are not yet available, but preliminary reports suggest generally fair to good wetland habitat conditions in parklands of Canada, but drier conditions in some prairie areas of Canada and North Dakota."

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department conducts its own spring duck and wetland surveys, and found the 2008 water index to be down 70 percent from last year, as well as 57 percent below the 1948-2007 average.

The wetland index was the 10th lowest in history, according to the department’s report.

"However, these significant decreases in the wetlands indices do not tell the whole story," according to the Game and Fish report. "Wetland conditions are generally much worse than indicated by the numbers. This is because the survey counts water areas, not the amount of water contained in wetlands."

Duck numbers in North Dakota were similar to last year and remained relatively high compared with the 60-year average. According to the Game and Fish report: "The large number of ducks tallied during our survey is ’abnormal’ considering the extremely poor water conditions across the state."

"Part of this is due to the fact that we have been carrying a duck population that is well above average since the mid-1990s."

The North Dakota report indicates that South Dakota is experiencing significantly improved water conditions due to late winter/early spring precipitation.

The scaup bag

The USFWS Regulations Committee meets next week, and Delta Waterfowl officials fear a harvest strategy regarding scaup (bluebills) might be adopted by the group.

John Devney, senior vice president for Delta in Bismarck, N.D., said the group in the past has supported conservative harvest of ducks. But, he said, a strategy that would further reduce scaup harvest from two ducks to one duck would be detrimental to the sport of diver duck hunting, and to the species itself.

Continental scaup numbers continue to range above 3 million, he said, while the most recent harvest data show a kill of less than 360,000 nationwide during the 2005-06 hunting season.

Devney said Delta officials believe a further bag reduction is unnecessary, and both Central and Mississippi flyway officials have opposed further reductions.

"If (the proposed) model is adopted, a one-scaup limit would go into effect this year," he said.

Delta would like other to see alternative scaup management models considered ideally those that involve factors other than harvest prior to the implementation of a single model.


Numbers looking good for another year in a row...that's good news.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

With all this wet weather, we should have a great season this year!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

sounds like with a little rain this summer and a little luck in terms of weather this fall there shouldnt be any reason for hunters to complain.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm definatley looking forward to early goose sounds like our group has a couple of fields that were good last year lined up, so lets hope they come on back.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Posts

    • I would like to get some recipes to inject a turkey breast, and appx. how long does it take to smoke it? And whats a good wood to use ?
    • Could be that others cheated also.   I was relying on memory about the BMW connection and hypothesized that Mercedes would also have been a possibility.   I did say "maybe mercedes".     In any case, VW cheated on emissions for many years with the assent of the highest levels of management.     Apparently making a small diesel that runs ok and doesn't make too much pollution at an acceptable cost is really hard.
    • License what technology, this kind?     "In light of the ongoing governmental information requests, inquiries and investigations, and our own internal investigation, it cannot be ruled out that the authorities might reach the conclusion that Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles have similar functionalities," Daimler said in its newly released quarterly report. The maker first acknowledged in January that authorities had begun probing its handling of diesel emissions. That was the same month that VW agreed to settle a criminal probe by the U.S. Justice Department, a federal judge this past week approving the payment of a $2.8 billion fine. Almost 40 times the legal limit In the VW case, the mainstream German automaker rigged the software controlling two diesel engines to recognize when a vehicle was undergoing emissions tests and then adjust pollution levels. In real-world situations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asserted, those powerplants would produce up to 40 times the legal limit for pollutants like smog-causing oxides of nitrogen. Since the scandal broke in September 2015, regulators in the U.S. and the European Union have begun rechecking the emissions claims made by other manufacturers, including Daimler, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and others. In January of this year, the EPA took aim at FCA, alleging that it may have used its own, rigged software on products like the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel which "appeared to cause the vehicles to perform differently when being tested" than when in use in real-world conditions. That same month, Daimler said that what the EPA was concerned about "apparently includ(ed) functionalities that are common in diesel vehicles, as undisclosed Auxiliary Emission Control Devices (AECD)." While the German parent of both the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands did not confirm it had broken the law, it laid open the possibility that its own diesel emissions strategy could be in trouble. "If these or other inquiries, investigations, legal actions and/or proceedings result in unfavorable findings, an unfavorable outcome or otherwise develop unfavorably, Daimler could be subject to significant monetary penalties, remediation requirements, vehicle recalls, process improvements and mitigation measures," Daimler stated.
    •   Wow, Del I forgot all about that little discussion you started two years ago.  All the fun folks were in on it, even the LIMTOUT. That's what happens when you have short term memory loss and pictures bring on new thoughts and emotions.  Let's just call this threat the "What a dang waste and shame!" More of an aftermath threat?  K   And Del was there, and PFloyd, and Reb and Leech stop by and even the evil LIMTOUT was there! It was a nightmare!    
    • When we had are seasonal campsite I had lots of squirrels. I used all metal feeders. Come Sept them squirrels went in the freezer and cooked up for the wild game feed!
    • If you have been following the story, the reason VW got in this mess is they didn't want to license technology from BMW (or maybe Mercedes) and chose to develop their own.   When it couldn't be made to work properly, they chose to cheat rather than bite the bullet.    Long discussions of what happened as the story broke    
    • I had one of those.  Mine never quite ran right, although I lived with the quirks for years.  I have a pdf of service manual if you want it.   Mine ran rough intermittently at certain rpm.
    • If they make it better because of stupid government mandates it wouldn't bother me at all.   In fact, the Dodge ram diesel that I used to have had something from Daimler Benz that allowed it to meet the standards without DEF. I would not be surprised if they did something similar with those diesels and if they did I applaud them. The best thing anyone can do with the diesel trucks is delete the emissions and unlock the power and economy that are robbed from them.   
    • pellet gun does the job here  
    • I have to many squirrels, need the feeders with the metal holes.
  • Our Sponsors