News release: Fish and Wildlife Almanac, Aug. 15

August 15, 2022

Breeding waterfowl counts show numbers at
or below long-term averages

Spring waterfowl population counts by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provide data that the DNR uses to produce population estimates. This year, the estimates are average or below-average for several species of waterfowl that nest in Minnesota. The 2022 breeding population estimates are:

  • Mallards – 231,000, which is 19% below the 2019 estimate and unchanged from the long-term average
  • Blue-winged teal – 161,000, which is 28% below the 2019 estimate and 24% below the long-term average
  • Other ducks, excluding scaup, (such as ring-necked ducks, wood ducks, gadwalls, northern shovelers, canvasbacks, redheads and buffleheads), 175,000 which is 6% below the 2019 estimate and 3% below the long-term average
  • Total breeding duck abundance (excluding scaup) – 567,000, which is 18% below the 2019 estimate and 9% below the long-term average
  • Canada geese – 115,000, which is similar to the 2019 estimate and 27% below the long-term average.
  • Trumpeter swans – 25,000, which is a new record high for the population (survey methods for swans differs and a long-term average is not available). 

Overall, it was a very late spring across the state, especially in the north. It is likely that some blue-winged teal, a species that migrates relatively late in the spring, were still south of Minnesota when the survey began. As a result of the late spring, nesting effort and the number of young produced is expected to be below average for both ducks and Canada geese.

Winners chosen for 2023 trout and salmon stamp,
walleye stamp contests

Bemidji artist Bradley Hadrava won the Minnesota trout and salmon stamp contest with an acrylic painting of Lake Trout and Cisco, and Minneapolis artist Melissa Mickelson won the walleye stamp contest with an acrylic painting of a walleye. Both contests happened virtually on Aug. 4, 2022.

In the trout and salmon stamp contest, which had 10 eligible submissions, there was a tie for runner up: Mark Pearce of Blaine won with a digital printing of a rainbow trout and Josh Evan of Mapleton won with an acrylic painting of a brook trout.

In the walleye stamp contest, which had nine eligible submissions, the runner up was Stephen Hamrick of Lakeville with an acrylic/colored pencil submission of a walleye. Third place went to Thomas Kutschied of Longville with an oil painting of a walleye.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources uses revenue from voluntary purchases of walleye stamps to purchase walleye for stocking in Minnesota’s lakes. Revenue from trout and salmon stamps, which are required for anglers ages 18-64 who fish in designated trout water or possess trout, is dedicated to trout and salmon management and habitat work. Visit the stamp page of the DNR website for more information about habitat stamps and contest guidelines.

DNR webinars cover clay target shooting, early goose hunting

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invites Minnesotans interested in wildlife and outdoor skills to tune in to upcoming webinars that will discuss clay target shooting for beginners and opportunities to hunt Canada geese in Minnesota before the regular waterfowl season opens.

The first webinar, on clay target shooting, is at noon Wednesday, Aug. 17. Sheri Brengman, DNR Becoming an Outdoors Woman program volunteer steering committee member and instructor, will talk about the basics of trap shooting and other clay target shooting games.

The second webinar is at noon Wednesday, Aug. 24. Nick Trauba, DNR assistant area wildlife manager, will discuss early season hunting opportunities for geese and provide tips on where and how to bag a goose this time of the year. Minnesota’s early Canada goose season is Saturday, Sept. 3, through Sunday, Sept. 18, and there are also special hunting seasons established by the DNR that target high populations of geese in specific areas. Some of these special opportunities occur during the early goose season.

The webinars are part of the DNR’s Minnesota Outdoor Skills and Stewardship Series, which aims to give participants quick, relevant information on upcoming seasons and events, as well as skills to enjoy these opportunities. The webinars are free but registration is required. More information, including registration information for webinars and recordings of past webinars, is available on the outdoor skills and stewardship page of the DNR website.