News release: Minnesota DNR reminds waterfowl hunters to watch for wild ricers during early teal season

August 22, 2023

Shooting restrictions are in place near wild rice beds open to wild rice harvest on Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe reservation

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

Minnesota’s experimental early teal season runs from Saturday, Sept. 2, through Wednesday, Sept. 6, with shooting hours from sunrise to sunset.

Shooting restrictions on Leech Lake Reservation

During this year’s early teal season, there are special state regulations for hunters within the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe reservation. Specifically, hunters may not hunt within one-half mile of posted wild rice beds open to harvest within the boundaries of the reservation. In addition, White Earth Nation may have restrictions for hunters on the White Earth Reservation.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources advises all waterfowl hunters who plan to hunt within the boundaries of the Leech Lake or White Earth reservations to contact the appropriate natural resource department for more information:

  • Leech Lake Division of Resource Management: 218-335-7400
  • White Earth Division of Natural Resources: 218-935-2488

Safety considerations

Throughout Minnesota, the early teal season falls at a time when many people are engaged in a wide range of water-based activities. The Minnesota DNR urges all over-water waterfowl hunters to be aware of and cautious about people participating in other activities on the water, no matter where they hunt.

“A safety mindset and mutual courtesy will allow for successful early waterfowl hunting and other water-based activities,” said Leslie McInenly, Minnesota DNR wildlife populations and regulations manager. “Additionally, 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.”

The US Fish and Wildlife Service allows states to hold an experimental early teal season for up to three years, and 2023 is the third year Minnesota has had this season. To help assess the experimental season, observers from the Minnesota DNR 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.

“As always, hunters must be careful to accurately identify waterfowl species before they shoot, and they must hunt safely,” McInenly said. “With others on the water at the same time, hunters should continue to 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 on page 18 of the 2023 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations. Access to complete information on Minnesota’s waterfowl hunting seasons is available from the Minnesota DNR’s waterfowl hunting webpage. The Minnesota DNR is also working on having the 2023 regulations translated into Hmong, Karen, Somali and Spanish and making them available for hunters this fall.

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