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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now that I have your attention let me say I am more qualified to write the previous ND hunter post than this one. I am currently an ex-ND living in Minnesota. I occasionally hunt geese and never ducks in MN. I have read quite a bit so I guess I am a library historian on this one.

Minnesota has a long tradition of waterfowl hunters. Historically MN hunters have harvested more birds than just about any other state in the MS flyway (except Louisiana). The total number of birds shot and birds per hunter often dwarfed the numbers posted each fall by North Dakota. These are not just a bunch of divers. I believe the numbers show about 30% of the ducks shot in MN are divers. Balance are mallards, wood ducks, and teal. MN often leads the nation in total number of Canada geese shot by hunters.

The quality of duck hunting in MN has really slipped in the past 5 years. Just like the snow geese in ND, many of the ducks that migrated through MN are either shifting flyways or sitting in Canada until freeze-up. They main migration of ducks through MN often happens during deer opener.

There is a lot of discussion about why the quality of hunting in MN has dropped.

More ducks are sitting in ND because the habitat is better.

Some believe that many of the MN nesting birds migrate to the Dakotas in August. Western MN is full of ducks in July - by mid September most have moved on. I have shot a banded Mallard in ND that was banded that summer in Ontario - so maybe they are right.

The water level of ponds in MN are too high and full of minnows which degrade the wetland habitat. Thus food source is poor. Plus ND has small grains that attract big flocks of mallards.

Many of the large shallow wetlands in MN have been degraded by silt intrusion to the point that ducks no longer find them attractive.

In the 1980s/early '90s (DROUGHT) I was a ND resident struggling to find any water for duck hunting (fantastic hunting when we found these ducks concentrated on the few remaining spots). Minnesotans on average where having consistent and exceptional hunting. The birds could not go to ND. Birds from Canada over flew ND. Small ponds, marshes, and big lakes all produced ducks in MN.

Thus a MN hunter did not need to travel to ND for ducks. I bet most of the MN hunters in ND in 1990 were there to hunt SNOW GEESE.

Minnesota biologist are attempting to find a fix - if they are partially successful, less MN hunters will head to ND.

Many in MN are praying for a ND drought. Sure there will be less ducks overall, but they will all be in MN come October. Maybe just maybe I will try hunt ducks in MN then - no I doubt it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That was just not the case in the 1980s and early 1990s for many MN hunters. Yes - less birds were hatched and lower limits, but many more ducks stopped over in MN and much better hunting in MN. I guess the parkland birds made an eastern turn over the red.

Waterfowl move east and west as much as they do north and south. All the Tundra Swans in ND in late October - nearly every single one winters in North Carolina. Texas, Kansas - do not see one.

Banding studies show that ducks do not simply fly north and south either. I have shot an Ontario banded mallard in ND. Look at the Arkansas harvest statistics (bands). ND, Manitoba, and Sask. supply this southern state with a lot of mallards.

MN hatched ducks are believed to trans-migrate into ND in August or September. Why ??
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Where I hunt in ND there just is no issue with competition for hunting spots with either residents or nonresidents. In the past 5 years I have averaged hunting in ND about 12 days each fall. Of the twelve days maybe 7 or 8 for waterfowl.

I am not near Jamestown and I am no where near Devils Lake.

Sure we see other hunters. Each fall we have found huge flocks of mallards ... some in eyesight of major ND highways. Areas along the big ND refuges (ND/Canada border) have a fraction of the hunters that were once there when the snow geese staged on these ponds.

Counterpoint:
Lets say there are ND people who own and pay taxes on lake homes in western MN. I have quite a few old ND friends or their parents that do the same. Great place to be in the summer. Of course SE ND has Morton Pond and Brewer Lake.

How is that different than a person or group from MN or IL that leases or even buys ND farmland for hunting. Recreation in a different form.

Development of lakeshore property is a major reason why many Minnesota lakes have lost some of there productivity.

Is the influx of NR lake home buyers in MN increasing the property values to the point that someone local to that area can no longer buy or own lake property too ?

What if MN was to set up a law that allowed people from ND two weeks of fishing, in specified zones ? Your cabin not in that zone, tough. Will this happen ? no. Resort industry too strong.

MN allows NRs to apply for bear and turkey licenses even though they are quotas and many MN residents are denied each fall.

Now I agree that something needs to be done in ND, Especially on the eastern side of ND where the resident population is so strong. What ? I do not know yet and it really will not be my decision - will it.

[ This Message was edited by: prairie hunter on 2002-04-03 19:26 ]
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Living in GF you are a quick drive to Devils Lake. From Cass Cty it was more like 3+ hours. Ashtabula sucked. Lake Sak. was too far away to go very often.

I also grew up fishing ND much more often than MN. Until I turned 30 or so I bet 90% of my fishing time was spent in ND. Fished Lake Sak., the Red (9# walleye & cats), the Sheyenne (northerns & white bass), Brewer, and some smaller trout lakes (that even today I will never say when or where - they were that fantastic). I can only imagine how good the fishing in ND is now on all the unnamed farm ponds that hold perch.

But I believe that you and I were often the exception. While we were going west - just about everyone else in town was crossing the red river into MN. Sit on highway 10 on a Friday evening. The cars pour out of Fargo into western MN by the thousands. I personally know at least 10 people who have retired at the lakes - becoming MN residents in the process. When I did fish a western MN opener 20 years ago as a ND resident, many of the trucks at the boat launch had ND plates.

ND people are buying a lot of lake homes in MN. Many, many more vacation there. Still even more fish there regularly. There is more to do than just fish. Family events, biking , golfing has really taken the premier sell at many resorts in MN.

But this is a sportsman's BB. The fishing in MN can be very good, often it is the little unnamed "ponds" that hold the one pound bluegills. Walleye fishing on the Mississippi is fantastic. The Upper Red Lake is putting out countless big crappies.

I will see if the MN DNR know how many ND residents had a license last year. Of course this will not count anyone under 16.

I would guess the Hustads would be on the top of your sacrafice list ... they appear to spend a lot of time in MN fishing.

[ This Message was edited by: prairie hunter on 2002-04-04 09:29 ]

[ This Message was edited by: prairie hunter on 2002-04-04 09:44 ]
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
M. I will agree on that in principal. I am not sure that the waterfowl or upland bird resource in ND is near being tapped out -- access yes ... bird populations no way.

But maybe the MN fish resources are tapped out on MN lakes close to Fargo or GF. Sounds like Fetch would agree.

The best fishing spots in MN are often on lakes, rivers, ponds where no development has occurred.

Maybe the MN resort industry did the same thing 40 years ago that is happening in ND now. Maybe MN should correct this situation now.

There is a lot of discussion in MN about the downgrading of the typical MN lake fishery. Numbers and size of fish keep dropping.

I completely agree that ND has a problem - how they solve it remains to be seen. I guess the MN solution was (on average) to live with less fish and less big fish.

[ This Message was edited by: prairie hunter on 2002-04-04 10:09 ]
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey I originally just threw this post out to state that MN duck hunters are coming to ND because they are just following the ducks out of MN.

Most in MN do not want ND to have a drought. MN does need some drier conditions to get their wetlands more attractive to migrating waterfowl.

This post sure got a new thread on this web site going. I have to do something to get you guys to login instead of snow goose hunt.

Decoyer : I will not tell where I hunt ducks, just like I have been able to keep my trout lake a secret. Actually my trout lake was one little spot. I duck hunt in a 50 mile by 100 mile area of ND. Will often drive 45 minutes in the dark to get to our "new" hot spot.

To others : I will say I have driven from both the Missourri river to Valley City & Rugby to Grand Forks in October too. Sure I saw plenty of trucks. I also ducks scattered in many wetlands and both times I also found at least three areas full of mallards. I simply glassed them and moved on - I was homeward bound.

A few tips : while driving look at the horizon - not the ponds and ditches on the side of the road. Hunt more than 5 miles from the nearst ND town. Ask permission to hunt that posted land - they do say yes more often than not and they do not expect any money - just a friendly hello and a THANK YOU.

PH - your ND want-to-be
 
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