Waterfowl hunting

Read this important notice

Waterfowl seasons are closed. Information on this page and pages linked to it applies to 2023 seasons only and may be outdated.

Light goose conservation harvest is Feb. 18-April 30.

Details for 2024 seasons will be available on Thursday, Aug. 1.

View hunting dates on the hunting and trapping seasons page.

News & notices

Youth waterfowl hunt

On September 9-10, waterfowl hunters age 17 and younger, when accompanied by a non-hunting adult (age 18 and older) may take ducks, geese, mergansers, coots and moorhens from ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.

Have a safe hunt

Proper preparation and forethought goes a long way. Wear your lifejacket and be safe on the water and in the marsh when you're out hunting. Use our guide to safe waterfowl hunting before you head out into the field.

Complete regulations

View the waterfowl regulations handbook for complete hunting regulations and location-specific information. A guide that helps hunters properly identify ducks and geese of Minnesota also is available.


Early Teal

StatewideSept. 2-6
Harvest of Blue-winged, Green-winged and Cinnamon teal allowed.

Ducks, coots, mergansers

NorthSept. 23 - Nov. 21
CentralSept. 23 - Oct. 1; Oct. 7 - Nov. 26
SouthSept. 23 - Oct. 1; Oct. 7 - Nov. 26


Early goose (statewide)Sept. 2-17
NorthSept. 23-Dec. 22
CentralSept. 23-Oct. 1; Oct. 7-Dec. 27
SouthSept. 23-Oct. 1; Oct. 7-Dec. 27


This weekly outlook is updated on Thursdays of each week during the waterfowl hunting season. It is compiled from state and federal wildlife manager reports and waterfowl surveys from across Minnesota.

Weekly conservation officer reports also contain information about waterfowl hunter success.



Shooting hours

½ hour before sunrise to sunset except early teal season, when shooting cannot begin until sunrise.
Sunrise and sunset times

Daily limits

The combined daily limit for all species listed – not including goose – is 6

Early Teal

Blue-winged, Green-winged, Cinnamon6 combined


Mallard4 (2 hens)
Wood duck3
Black duck2
All others6


Zone opening day - Oct. 121
Oct. 12 - Zone closing day2

Coots & moorhen (gallinule)

Coots & moorhen (gallinule)15


Mergansers5 (no more than 2 of which may be hooded mergansers)

Early goose season

Canada, White-fronted, BrantSept. 2-175 combined
Snow, Blue snow, Ross'sSept. 2-1720

Regular goose season

North zone
Canada, White-fronted, BrantSept. 23-Dec. 225 combined
Snow, Blue snow, Ross'sSept. 23-Dec. 2220
Central zone
Canada, White-fronted, BrantSept. 23-Oct. 1; Oct. 7-Dec. 275 combined
Snow, Blue snow, Ross'sSept. 23-Oct. 1; Oct. 7-Dec. 2720
South zone
Canada, White-fronted, BrantSept. 23-Oct. 1; Oct. 7-Dec. 275 combined
Snow, Blue snow, Ross'sSept. 23-Oct. 1; Oct. 7-Dec. 2720
The possession limit for all migratory birds is three times the daily limit.



  • Migratory game birds: Defined as ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, moorhens (gallinules), woodcock, rails, snipe, sandhill cranes, and mourning doves.
  • Migratory waterfowl: Defined as ducks, geese, and mergansers.
  • Undressed bird: Defined as ducks, or geese or other migratory game birds with one fully-feathered wing attached.

Non-toxic shot required

It is unlawful to take geese, ducks, mergansers, coots, moorhens, or sandhill cranes with lead shot or while having any lead shot in possession. Only shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may be used.

Opening day possession limit

On the opening day of the season, no person may possess more freshly killed migratory game birds than is allowed by the daily limit.


A person may not kill or wound any migratory game bird without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird and include it in the daily limit.


  • No person may place decoys on public lands or in public waters more than two hours before legal shooting hours for waterfowl.
  • No person may leave decoys on public waters between sunset and two hours before legal shooting hours or leave decoys unattended during other times for more than three consecutive hours, except decoys may be left in waters adjacent to private land under control of the hunter where there is not sufficient natural vegetation growing in the water to partially conceal a hunter. A person may not leave decoys in public waters between sunset and one hour before shooting hours if the decoys constitute a navigational hazard.
  • Motorized spinning-wing decoys may be used statewide during the early teal season and throughout the entire waterfowl season, including on wildlife management areas.

Field possession limit

No person shall possess, have in custody or transport more than the daily limit or aggregate daily limit, whichever applies, of migratory game birds, tagged or not tagged at or between the place where taken and either:

  1. His or her automobile or principal means of land transportation;
  2. His or her personal abode or temporary transient place of lodging;
  3. Migratory bird preservation facility;
  4. Post office; or
  5. A common carrier facility.

Wanton waste

You must make a reasonable effort to retrieve all migratory game birds that you kill or wound and keep these birds in your actual custody while in the field. You must immediately kill any wounded birds that you retrieve and count those birds toward your daily limit. Birds must remain in your possession while in the field. You may not give your birds to another person in the field regardless of whether or not they are properly tagged.

Learn to hunt

Do you value strong connections to your outdoors and the food you eat? Are you looking for a new way to interact with the fields, woods and waters around you?

Please check out our waterfowl hunting how-to guide to get started.


Hunting is only one aspect of the DNR's effort to manage waterfowl for the public trust. Visit our waterfowl management page to learn about the many things we do to manage waterfowl for the benefit of all Minnesotans now and into the future.

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