The Minnesota waterfowl season opened this past weekend and according to the Minnesota DNR the outlook is very good.
“The number of breeding ducks this spring was very high based on the continental duck breeding population surveys,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. “In addition, recruitment, or the number of young ducks that hatched, was also good this year based on reports we’ve heard. These young ducks comprise a large percentage of duck hunters’ bags during the fall.”
Wetland conditions were favorable and the total continental breeding population of all ducks combined was more than 49 million ducks, which is 8 percent above last year and 43 percent above long-term averages, Cordts said. However, duck numbers can fluctuate widely at this time of year for a variety of reasons.
“Some species like blue-winged teal and wood ducks are very early migrants and many move south even before the season opens, which is normal,” Cordts said. “But many other species like ring-necked ducks and mallards will continue to increase in number as migrants move down from Canada during the season.”
Canada goose hunting should also be good early in the regular waterfowl season.
Although I have never been a waterfowl hunter, all four of my grandsons enjoy the sport very much and Trevor, the oldest, is pretty hardcore when it comes to any sort of outdoors activities related to hunting or fishing. I actually believe that goose hunting is probably his favorite and although some don’t like to eat goose, he has no problem with it. He has even made jerky from it and I can attest to the fact that it is mighty tasty.
About three years ago I tagged along with my son Brian and his three boys for a mid-October hunting and fishing trip to our cabin. It was cold with a light mist of snow and rain mix for most of the four days that we were there. These conditions were okay for duck hunting, but not so much for fishing. Each morning Brian and the boys would get up before sunrise, get in our little boat and head across the lake to their duck blinds. Grandpa got to sleep in a little longer before getting up and starting breakfast for the hunters.
On couple of our days there I would drive Brian and Trevor to the beginning of the trail that runs through the state land on the back of our property. They would walk the trail on the state land looking for grouse and this would eventually bring them back to the cabin. While they were hunting, grandsons Taylor and Grant spent their time keeping the campfire going.
Now I have to say that I have always found having a campfire in late fall or winter to be something special. Maybe it’s because sitting around an open campfire in the woods makes me feel like I can almost envision what the fur traders and outdoorsmen endured many years ago.
Yes, spending time in the woods is great but a blazing campfire on a late fall/early winter day with a little snow on the ground can be pretty peaceful and invigorating at the same time. This is an experience that I have been lucky enough to enjoy quite a few times over that past few years and for some reason it makes me feel like a true outdoorsman and definitely brings a person just a little closer to nature.
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I must have done something right yesterday because I received a phone call right away in the morning telling me that I had won a cruise. Wow! Unfortunately, I hung up before the person on the other end could give me the exciting details. About an hour later I received a call informing me that the warranty on my vehicle was about to expire so I had to act soon. I have over 240,000 miles on my pickup, so I think that ship has already sailed, probably on that same cruise. The day before that I had received a call from credit card services offering to cut my rates; must have been another lucky day, and to top that off some guy called yelling something about seniors into the phone, but I had to hang up on him because as excited as he sounded I was afraid he might hurt himself trying to talk. It must really take the stress out of telemarketing when everything is pre-recorded; this also takes away my fun of asking them stupid questions that they can’t answer.
The leaves in the northern part of the state are almost at full peak, so it’s a great time to take a drive north or just drive down a local country road and enjoy the view as the leaves start to turn in our area of the state.
Please take a little time to remember those who served, those who are serving now and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.