News release: DNR reminds hunters to watch for wild ricers during early waterfowl seasons

August 22, 2022

Minnesota waterfowl hunters taking part in early teal and goose hunting seasons in September need to be aware of and cautious of wild rice harvesters, because wild rice is ripening at the same time as these early waterfowl hunting seasons.

Minnesota’s experimental early teal season runs from Saturday, Sept. 3, through Wednesday, Sept. 7, with shooting hours from sunrise to sunset. This year’s early goose season runs from Saturday, Sept. 3 through Sunday, Sept. 18, with shooting hours from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.

Tribal closure of wild rice waters for early waterfowl hunting seasons

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the White Earth Nation have closed all wild rice waters within the boundaries of their respective reservations to all over-water waterfowl hunting during the traditional wild rice harvest. Affected by these closures are the experimental early teal season (Sept. 3-7) and the early goose season (Sept. 3-18).

The DNR advises all waterfowl hunters to be aware of these tribal restrictions and urges hunters who have planned to hunt within the boundaries of the Leech Lake or White Earth reservations to contact each tribe’s natural resource department for more information:

Safety considerations

Since wild rice is ripening at the same time as Minnesota’s early waterfowl hunting seasons, over-water waterfowl hunters are urged to be aware of and cautious about wild ricers no matter where they hunt.

“A safety mindset and mutual courtesy will allow for successful early waterfowl hunting and wild ricing,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. “With water levels low in some areas, scouting ahead is critical for both waterfowl hunters and ricers so they know whether there will be enough water for boats at their desired areas.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows states to hold an experimental early teal season for up to three years, and 2022 is the second year Minnesota has had this season. Observers will be documenting which species hunters target and shoot. The statewide early goose season has occurred since 1996, with over-water hunting allowed through much of the state since 2003.

“Hunters must hunt safely, and accurately target only the species of allowed teal,” Cordts said. “With others on the water at the same time, hunters should follow the basic tenets of firearms safety, including knowing with certainty what’s beyond their blinds and decoys before shooting.”

Information to help hunters properly identify waterfowl is available in an illustrated guide contained in the 2022 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations. Access to complete information on Minnesota’s waterfowl hunting seasons is available from the DNR’s waterfowl hunting webpage. Complete regulations and the illustrated guide also are available in Hmong, Karen, Somali and Spanish.