Minnesota’s regular waterfowl season begins this weekend
This photo was taken at the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in central Florida. It is an 11-mile drive throughout a wildlife conservation area. This photo shows a low flying ring tailed duck flying over the water.

Minnesota’s regular waterfowl season opens a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 24, with the same regulations as last year. Minnesota has three waterfowl hunting zones — north, central and south — that share the Sept. 24 season opener but have varying end dates. The central and south zones also have a mid-season closure Oct. 3-7.

Hunters should check the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource’s waterfowl hunting page (mndnr.gov/Hunting/Waterfowl) for complete information including season dates, regulations, a waterfowl identification guide and weekly waterfowl migration reports. Waterfowl hunting regulations are also available in Hmong, Karen, Somali and Spanish on the DNR website (mndnr.gov/Regulations/Hunting).

The DNR is advising waterfowl hunters to take precautions for avian influenza when handling harvested birds to minimize the risk of spreading the virus. The virus poses a low risk to humans but can be spread by contact with sick birds and by hunting equipment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes these recommendations for hunters (fws.gov/avian-influenza) to protect themselves from avian influenza:

  • Do not handle or eat sick game.
  • Field dress and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game.
  • When done handling game, wash hands thoroughly with soap or disinfectant, and clean knives, equipment, and surfaces that came in contact with game.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling animals.
  • All game should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before being consumed.