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Waterfowl hunters reminded to have license and tags, follow rules

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resource asks hunters to be safe, ethical and responsible when the state's waterfowl season gets underway Saturday, Sept. 27.

"The most common violations are not buying a license or not having waterfowl stamps," said DNR Chief Conservation Officer Mike Hamm. He noted that most waterfowl hunting questions can be answered by reading the 2003 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook and the Waterfowl Hunting Regulations Supplement both available where DNR licenses are sold and on-line at

Waterfowl hunters must have a Minnesota Small Game License in their possession while hunting unless they are exempt from a license requirement. A license can be acquired at any of the 1,800 Electronic Licensing System (ELS) agents located throughout Minnesota, by calling the DNR License Center at 1-888-665-4236, or through Internet licensing on the DNR Web site Hunters who have lost their license may obtain a duplicate license at any ELS license agent or from the DNR License Center.

The daily bag limit is six ducks, and may not include more than four mallards (only two of which may be females), three scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads, and one black duck. The daily limit will also include one pintail and one canvasback during the limited 30-day open seasons for those species. One pintail may be taken during the 30-day open season from Saturday, Sept. 27, through Oct. 26. One canvasback may be taken for the 30-day season from Saturday, Oct. 11, through Sunday, Nov. 9. Possession limits are twice the daily bag limits.

Both state and federal stamps are required during waterfowl season. A State Migratory Waterfowl Stamp is required by all resident hunters except those under age 18 or age 65 and over, and all nonresident hunters. Exceptions to the requirement are outlined on page 87 of the 2003 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations handbook. A Federal Migratory Waterfowl Stamp is required for waterfowl hunters aged 16 and older.

Among the restrictions is taking migratory game birds by the aid of baiting or on or over a baited area when a person knows, or reasonably should know, that the area is or has been baited. A baited area is considered to be baited for 10 days after complete removal of any bait. Baiting includes placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of salt, grain or other feed that could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on, or over areas where hunters are attempting to take them.

It is a separate offense to place or direct placement of bait on or adjacent to an area that causes, induces or allows another to hunt by the aid of bait or over a baited area.

"Hunters are responsible for ensuring that an area has not been baited and should verify its legality prior to hunting," Hamm said. The maximum federal baiting penalties for hunting over bait are $15,000 and/or six months in jail, and for placing bait $100,000 and/or one year in jail.

It is unlawful to take geese, ducks, mergansers, coots or moorhens with lead shot or while having any lead shot in possession. The only shot that may be used is steel shot, copper-plated, nickel-plated or zinc-plated steel shot, bismuth shot, tungsten-iron shot, tungsten-nickel-iron shot, tungsten-polymer shot, tungsten-matrix shot, or other shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Tagging waterfowl is also important. Tagging is required if the birds are being transported by another person for the hunter, or if the birds have been left for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment or taxidermy services. Hamm noted no person shall give, put or leave any migratory game birds at any place or in the custody of another person unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information:

o hunter's signature

o hunter's address

o total number of birds involved, by species, and

o dates such birds were killed.

"Minnesota's abundance of wildlife is no accident. It is the direct product of habitat management and compliance with the law," Hamm said. "When you follow the regulations you are on the trail to a safe, rewarding and successful hunt."

To report a violation to a conservation officer, contact the nearest Minnesota State Patrol Office or Turn in Poachers at 1-800-652-9093.





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