The long awaited Minnesota Duck hunting season will open the morning of September 21st. In this area the most prevalent duck will be the Wood Duck. The Wood duck is a small puddle duck living around small ponds and streams. The body of an average Wood duck is quite small at 6 to 8 inches in length plus the head, neck and tail. This is a small target for a fast flying duck. Non-toxic shot must be used, in most case you will want to use #4 or #6 size shot in a 2 ¾ or 3” 12 gauge but a 20 gauge is fine as well.
Many people will be sitting at the edge of a small pond in the morning. You should get out as early as the law will allow but no sooner. Be as quite as possible and hunker down as not to be seen. Do not use any calls at this point, the ducks are in front of you as it is and you don’t want to spook them into leaving early. Make sure you have a watch set correctly and wait for legal shooting time (6:29 AM on the 21st). Most often if it is a clear day many ducks will fly before legal shooting time so those duck will be for another day. For ducks coming off of a pond you will not need a long lead as the ducks are not yet to full speed. After the initial shooting you will be waiting for ducks from other areas to come into the pond you are hunting, now is the time for your duck calls. These ducks will be moving much faster and you will need a longer lead. Retrieve any hit ducks as fast as you can so you don’t lose them, there too hard to come by and to tasty.
Speaking of tasty, I like to breast out Wood ducks leaving the skin on and marinate in apricot marmalade for 24 hours. Grill these ducks over a hot fire, the marinate will caramelize and the duck should be medium rare to be the most tender and best eating. Save the legs and thighs for hot wings or however you like them.
If you have any questions feel free to ask. Get out and be safe.