2010 waterfowl season opener was spotty at best
WILLMAR -- The 2010 waterfowl season got off to a "spotty'' start at best, and to no one's surprise.
"Odd'' is how Leroy Dahlke, wildlife manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources described the opener in Kandiyohi County.
Overall, he said waterfowl hunters reported limited shooting and a poor opener.
Yet there were some isolated areas where hunters were surprised by the numbers of birds they saw, and more divers than usual for this early in the season.
Flooded fields across southern Minnesota had many wondering where the ducks would be on the opener. For the most part it appears they were as scattered as people anticipated, he said.
But there were surprises. Those who had scouted Mud Lake north of New London on Friday had little reason to anticipate much action on Saturday.
Yet the cool front that brought the season's first frost to the area also delivered ducks to the lake right on time for some shooting on Saturday morning.
He said there were some water bodies in both the northern and southern portions of the county that attracted enough ducks to make at least a few hunters happy.
To the west, the opener on Marsh Lake will rank as one of the worst, according to John Wollenberg with the Minnesota DNR wildlife office at the Lac qui Parle office.
Wollenberg said a count of hunters and their bags on Saturday and Sunday shows an average success rate of about one duck per hunter. It's down a tiny fraction from last year, when the opener was also ranked as one of the worst.
The previous, 10-year average has seen a success rate of 2.1 birds per hunter.
Mallards, green- and blue-winged teal and wood ducks were the birds most often bagged.
Wollenberg said hunters on Marsh Lake were also seeing more diver ducks on this opener than is usually the case.
There were some geese harvested as well, including a few snow geese.
He also talked to hunters who were unaware of the change that eliminated the West Central and West goose zones, and didn't know they could now harvest geese in the area with the start of the regular waterfowl season. Wollenberg said some of the hunters told him they let low-flying geese wing right over them.