STAFF BLOG COMPASS POINTS WITH BRAD DOKKEN DNR releases first waterfowl migration report of the season
The first waterfowl migration and hunting report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources hit my inbox Thursday afternoon, but it didnt arrive in time for me to include in the outdoors repor... Posted on 9/21/12 at 10:22 AM
THE NORTH DAKOTA OUTDOORS AND BEYOND waterfowl season winding down
North Dakota waterfowl hunters are reminded the statewide duck and white-fronted goose seasons close Dec. 4. However, duck hunting in the high plains unit reopens Dec. 10 and continues through Jan. 1,... Posted on 11/29/11 at 11:21 AM
OUTDOORS WITH SAM COOK Goose hunting with Matt Keller
I had a chance to spend a morning with Matt Keller, who grew up in Grand Rapids and now makes his home in Bemidji, doing a field hunt for giant Canada geese near Fosston on Tuesday. Matt and his bro... Posted on 10/6/10 at 9:45 AM
PEACE GARDEN MAMA II wind power
This morning, with my mom hat tipped slightly to the side, I went about my work as a visiting author, rising earlier than usual to get started on my hour "commute." At a time when I normall... Posted on 5/5/09 at 3:50 PM
Minnesota waterfowl experts are pleased with the outcome of last fall’s duck and goose hunting seasons. According to the Department of Natural Resources, an earlier season opener, regulation changes that created more opportunity and some timely help from Mother Nature all combined to make 2012 a noteworthy season... and more.
Ryan Schuster, a senior at Red River High School, shot what appears to be a Canada goose with albino characteristics, Sept. 23 near Drayton, N.D. “I know this bird gave us an early look at our decoys,” Ryan’s dad, Tom (background), writes. “He came back later in the morning for a closer look and Ryan made a nice shot.” He said the goose is being mounted. Mike Johnson a migratory bird biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, said he receives several inquiries about geese with similar appearances. “The bird in the photo is not a true or complete albino, because it has some black feathers and some coloration,” Johnson writes. “Albinism is genetic mutation that suppresses all color pigments in feathers, and soft body parts. True albinos have pink eyes. If it is a Canada-type bird, which I can’t tell from the photo, it is most likely a hybrid with a domestic goose.”
As reported across the state earlier this week, North Dakota’s fall duck flight is expected to have twice as many birds as last year. Results from the annual mid-July waterfowl production survey showed the duck index was up 16 percent from 2011 and 112 percent higher than the long-term average.
The Service on Friday announced a 74-day season in the Central Flyway — with an additional 23 days in the High Plains areas — and a 60-day season in the Mississippi Flyway. North Dakota is in the Central Flyway, and Minnesota is in the Mississippi Flyway.
The sandhill crane survey, which covers an area from Crookston north through Thief River Falls to the Canadian border, will count both nesting pairs and nonbreeding cranes in the Minnesota hunting zone to better monitor breeding populations.
Devils Lake has risen 32 feet in the past 18 years. It’s inundating highways, swallowing country roads and forcing residents to take the long way around to visit each other. It’s also gobbling up farmland and threatening to flood towns such as Devils Lake and Minnewaukan, N.D.
These moments before legal shooting hours are filled with the sweet anticipation of the coming hunt. A teal comes slicing over the decoys and disappears down the lake. Mallards quack somewhere in the endless cattails behind us, discussing the day’s feeding destinations. The hushed banter of the hunters circulates from boat to boat as they ready guns and survey the sky.
Lack of ducks shouldn’t be a problem in North Dakota, depending on the weather and how it affects migration. The Game and Fish Department’s annual spring breeding duck survey showed an index of 4.1 million birds, down 9 percent from last year but 85 percent above the long-term average and the ninth-highest on record.
The great Missouri River flood could leave behind a more natural habitat than the area's native species have seen in decades. "The former function of the river is being restored in this one-year event," said Greg Pavelka, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wildlife biologist. "In the short term, it could be detrimental, but in the long term it could be very beneficial."
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