Minnesota’s 2016 Youth Waterfowl Day Was…Challenging

Minnesota’s Youth Waterfowl Day kicked off last Saturday with…well, let’s just say some challenges.

First, this summer has seen an abundance of rain which has filled every possible pothole, gully, slough…you name it.   If it holds water this year it’s likely filled with water.   That’s the good news for ducks as they have plenty of habitat this year.   It’s also the bad news for hunters because ducks have plenty of habitat this year.   Their numbers are just not concentrated in any one particular area which obviously makes hunting a bit easier.

And, of course, with rain also brings mosquitoes.   Now, in Minnesota it certainly is not unusually to still be battling this pestilence early into September before the freezing temps appear.   Yet, this year seems to have brought them out with a vengeance.   Perhaps making up for past summers where their numbers were…shall we say, a bit more tolerable.   As we ease toward winter and cooler temps the bug problem for many early season hunters is far from tolerable, unfortunately.

In fact, on this particular morning the ThermaCELLs(they had 4 of them) outnumbered the number of ducks witnessed (which unfortunately was none).   But, that sometimes happens early season before the ducks start moving south.   Youth Waterfowl Day can be highly unpredictable, but it usually teaches many great lessons in patience and the need for persistence.

What follows are some images supplied to me by my buddy, Todd Rost, from his morning afield with daughter, dad and dog this past Saturday.   Thanks to Todd for providing some visual insight into his experience on the 2016 youth hunt.

The youth hunt is intended to get young hunters into the field with plenty of adult guidance to ensure safety and fun.

Young hunters learn how one of the magical times of the day is sun-up when the morning just begins to peek over the eastern horizon.

The morning marsh is unusually quiet as mother nature transitions from the nocturnal to diurnal activity.

Whistling wings or distant specs flying in unison is often the first indication that waterfowl may be approaching.

It’s important to introduce the sights, the smells and the wet feet from leaky boots to youth to get the full experience.

Dogs, decoys and daughters…the perfect combination for a successful waterfowl hunt.

Dogs must play in the water…it’s part of their DNA to do so.

Ashley and Grandpa Dick wait patiently for the action to begin.

Time to call it a morning…even with no ducks in hand, there are still smiles on the faces because the kids got to go hunting.