Looking for general info on hunting MN

  • crawdaddy
    St. Paul MN
    Posts: 1105

    1. Migration questions

    I mainly hunt anywhere south of the metro in South-Central MN. As far as duck hunting goes, is it mainly just the first week or two of the season that is good? It’s my understanding that there’s some local ducks but not much of a migration that comes through, so once the residents are blasted or chased out not many come to replace them. It seems most of the ducks migrate through far western MN N/S Dakota or down the Mississippi river?

    2. Scouting questions

    I’ve hunted with some good hunters on the ole’ Miss and out in ND, but for scouting farm country in MN do you have any tips? I’m guessing just driving around and looking for good marshes with some ducks in them? I have a jon boat, but it’s a lot of weight that I need a boat ramp to launch it. I’m an average duck hunter, go 3-4 times a year with a sack of decoys and hunt alone or with one buddy. Any general tips/advice appreciated. Feel free to PM me too if you want.

    Thanks, I’m looking forward to getting the waders on this fall and hopefully hunting more than I have in the past )

    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 13969

    Crawdaddy, I waterfowl hunted in central MN every season for 24 years. Last year was the first time I didn’t go. During the course of those 24 years, the duck hunting slowly just got worse and worse. Some seasons were better than previous years and some were worse, but overall the pattern was evident to me: not as many ducks. I’m not going to blame it all on deteriorating habitat, weather, or migration shift because I know for a fact that much of it was my own fault, as I basically stopped scouting for birds ahead of time. I would just assume that they would be there at the same spots I always hunted, and over time that was just not the case. I never went a lot, but I’d go about 7 or 8 times/season and harvest about 40 ducks. Then it was about 3-4 times a season and 20 ducks. The last few years I went it was 1 or 2 times per season and maybe 5 or 6 ducks. I really enjoy a good waterfowl hunt and have all the gear, but I couldn’t justify the cost of the stamps and the time commitment anymore.

    That being said, if you are willing to scout and look ahead of time, you can still succeed. The best way to scout is using your own eyes. If you see ducks there, obtain permission to hunt it if you can. With the drought this season, small potholes may honestly be completely dry so you may have to focus on bigger water. There does seem to kind of be a lull after all the local ducks have been shot at or migrated, and before the birds from up north arrive. If we get an early cold snap followed by a warm spell, that usually does it. Hopefully others will chime in an offer their advice on this as I’ve been out of the game for a season now. I know there is an early teal season in September followed by a youth waterfowl season, plus an early goose season, so pressure on birds before the general opener could also be a factor.

    Posts: 756

    Significant amounts of ducks migrate right through central & eastern MN every fall, not just through the west side or down the river. Both dabbler and diver species.

    If you’re a lone ranger with waders, you’d do yourself well to scout out 15-20 spots during pre-season daylight so that you are comfortable wading into them at zerodark30 during the season. What you hunted last year might be a sucking mud flat this fall. It’s good to know ahead of time.

    For scouting, yes; drive around, find hunting areas, ask permission. You’ll get turned down a bunch, but that’s the game. On-X & county GIS maps allow for land owner information access on a smart phone or tablet. County plat books are available at courthouses, libraries, etc, as well as online retail. Farm & Home Publishing has all the counties for MN. Public land maps are available via apps and paper.

    Don’t overcall to the birds, hide your face, and make sure your spread has motion, especially on calm days. The ripples from a jerk string or pulsator make a huge difference in finishing birds. Pay attention to where ducks are on a slough based on wind direction and speed.

    404 ERROR
    Posts: 3918

    I grew up hunting the Mankato area. Ducks are there all season long. Diver hunts in late October/early November can be awesome. Wood duck populations are usually very good the first couple weeks of the season. Mallards and other puddle ducks are around all season, with spurts of good movement. Biggest piece of advice is never write off a slough or lake when you don’t see birds using it for 1-2 weeks. Birds are constantly moving, even the locals.

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