Waterfowl hunting

News & notices

Regulations translated

The 2021 waterfowl regulations booklet can be downloaded for reference today. Versions with complete translations are available in Hmong, Karen, Somali and Spanish.

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. Use our guide to safe waterfowl hunting before you head out into the field.

Get help with duck ID

Make sure you recognize and know what your shooting when you're out hunting. Use our illustrated guide to waterfowl to learn how to properly identify the ducks and geese of Minnesota.

Seasons

Early Teal

ZoneDates
StatewideSept. 4-8
Harvest of blue- and green-winged teal allowed. Shooting hours sunrise to sunset.

Ducks, coots, mergansers

ZoneDates
NorthSept. 25 - Nov. 23
CentralSept. 25 - Oct. 3; Oct. 9 - Nov. 28
SouthSept. 25 - Oct. 3; Oct. 9 - Nov. 28

Geese

ZoneDates
Early goose (statewide)Sept. 4-19
NorthSept. 25-Dec. 24
CentralSept. 25-Oct. 3; Oct. 9-Dec. 29
SouthSept. 25-Oct. 3; Oct. 9-Dec. 29

Shooting hours

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

 

Weekly waterfowl report

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.

 

Zones

Daily limits

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

Early Teal

SpeciesLimit
Blue-winged, Green-winged,Cinnamon6 combined

Ducks

SpeciesLimit
Mallard4 (2 hens)
Wood duck3
Redhead2
Canvasback2
Black duck2
Pintail1
All others6

Scaup

DatesLimit
Zone opening day - Oct. 141
Oct. 15 - Zone closing day2

Coots & moorhen (gallinule)

SpeciesLimit
Coots & moorhen (gallinule)15

Mergansers

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

Early goose season

SpeciesDatesLimit
Canada, White-fronted, BrantSept. 4-195 combined
Snow, Blue snow, Ross'sSept. 4-1920

Regular goose season

North zone
SpeciesDatesLimit
Canada, White-fronted, BrantSept. 25-Dec. 245 combined
Snow, Blue snow, Ross'sSept. 25-Dec. 2420
Central zone
SpeciesDatesLimit
Canada, White-fronted, BrantSept. 25-Oct. 3; Oct. 9-Dec. 295 combined
Snow, Blue snow, Ross'sSept. 25-Oct. 3; Oct. 9-Dec. 2920
South zone
SpeciesDatesLimit
Canada, White-fronted, BrantSept. 25-Oct. 3; Oct. 9-Dec. 295 combined
Snow, Blue snow, Ross'sSept. 25-Oct. 3; Oct. 9-Dec. 2920
The possession limit for all migratory birds is three times the daily limit.

Regulations

Definitions

  • 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.

Retrieval

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.

Decoys

  • 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.
  • New for 2021: 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.

Management

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.