A Mainstreet Radio special broadcast from the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls. Program highlights the wetlands and waterfowl. Rachel Reabe interviews both Doug Wells, Wildlife Manager at the Fergus Falls office of Natural Resources, and Tom Brimhall, Chairman of the local Ducks Unlimited. They discuss hunting in Minnesota's vanishing wetlands, which are one of the nation's premier duck hunting destinations. Minnesota has more waterfowl hunters than any other state. Wells and Brimhall also answer listener questions. Reabe then interviews John Haus, wildlife artist, and winner of DNR duck stamp contest. Program begins with a report from MPR’s Dan Gunderson as he follows group on a duck-hunting trip.
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
Mpr's Main Street radio coverage of rural issues is supported by the blandin foundation committed to strengthening communities through grant-making leadership training and convening. We invite you to visit the Main Street website go to www.mpr.org where you can hear today's program at your convenience as well as other Main Street reports. The address again is www.npr.org. Good afternoon, and welcome to the special Main Street radio show. I'm Rachel Redeemer broadcasting from the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota 60 day duck season open this past weekend. We have more waterfowl hunters in this state than any place in the nation some 130,000 duck Hunters are expected to shoot 800,000 Ducks here in the next 2 months Main Street radios. Dan Gunderson spend a few hours in a Duck Blind this week near Fergus Falls and filed this report. It's 6 on a rainy windy morning. When I meet Andy Anderson at the intersection of two Otter Tail County Roads. I follow his tail lights down the twisting multitrack to his hunting Shack inside the small 3 room cabin and his brother-in-law Don melhem has the coffee pot ready both men have been hunting ducks for more than 50 years that's thousands of hours of sitting in the rain snow and bitter wind of October. Rough weather is they like the best and and so you got to be a little crazy. But to me the biggest Thrill Is to see some ducks flying and and see the wing set coming into your decoys to me. There's no bigger thrill. My son enjoys hunting. My grandson now is eight years old has been out here. This was this I think his third opening weekend a duck hunting. So it's a tradition that one of my needed birthday cards ever got as he made a handmade card of two people in a Duck Blind, and he says Grandpa that's you and me. So let's meet about 6:20. It's time to leave the warmth of the kitchen table behind. Usually the first shoot is the best right away the first half-hour and inquisitive 6 month old yellow lab named daughter waits eagerly by the front door. my daughter A few hundred feet from the cabin aboard walk a couple feet wide leads into the rushes and cattails. Okay, here's the boardwalk that starts. just take it slow and watch your for the Americas not a super highway through the narrow spot. Short precarious what brings us to the Duck Blind a small deck with a wooden bench about 10 ft long mounted on pontoons a wall of camouflage. Netting is stretched around the deck about waist-high. It hides the hunters and provide some protection against the wind and rain. Still tough to see radon and settled in to wait as the first great ends of dawn begins to color the sky and I wonder who that could be who Could That Be that would be you. You won't get by with that was me. Now we just heard our first shots across the lake. Someone has found us. It's barely light enough to make out the decoys bobbing a few yards in front of the blind. It might or yes, lots of times when you pour a cup of coffee that bring something into then you got your hands full and you got to set the coffee down and get your gun and There's no no. I don't think it no you stay here. Stay here yet. I know it's a little bit boring right now, but there may be some more Ducks coming. Sometimes you get too concerned about the puppies their wonder if they realize their doctor if they're think they're human. You can almost see when she retrieve your first. Yesterday why how proud she was until she knew she did a good thing and was in a little Slough in the woods. And she kind of strutted along a little bit, didn't you? Sure? You haven't got it all figured out, but if you're getting thinking about it ain't you? Neither one of us claim to be extra colors, but but we do the feed chatter, which I'm the divers the ring bills and blue bills seems to work pretty well and right away you done. That one was almost could have hit with end of the Gun Barrel. What happens when you're not paying attention? Right. Yeah, you could have got that one on one conversation is sparse as the two men intensive scan the Verizon. I took a early retirement now, so I'm just tired and out of my company and and but one of my goals just on virtually every day this fallen so many years. I know I could only hunt weekends and Couple years when the best flight came through I was away out of town on a business meeting and so I missed it then the single going north. weather hard to see in that tree line There's one right there. in my opinion there was a lot more Ducks when I was younger and Like I was I grew up in a farm south of forgets about 5 miles in and that's kind of the pothole country and like opening day of duck hunting if we didn't fill out within an hour away and we thought it was a complete bust it on and lots of times is 15-20 minutes. And now for Five Guys in two days a hunting show. you know, but like I say it's less important to The monkey kill and so far I could see another human being outdoors with the tracks us. So it's not that big a deal but I like to see I like that love to see him. Like I say we we we come down in the evening and without guns and just watch him fly about 9 with two ducks in the bag. It's time to call it quits. But Andy Anderson expects to be back here tomorrow man every day for the rest of this season of public radio. Fergus Falls is duck country and home to the states most powerful chapter of Ducks Unlimited many of the nation's waterfowler hatched in the fertile Wetlands that run down the Western border of Minnesota. I'm Rachael Ray be in my guest today or Doug Wells Wildlife manager for the Fergus Falls Office of the Department of Natural Resources and Tom Brimhall chairman of the local Ducks Unlimited chapter welcome gentlemen are phone number is one 800-537-5252. If you would like to call him with a question or a comment on this program on waterfowl one. 800-537-5252. Let's get a forecast for me. What is the duck Harvest look like this year doesn't always necessary translate into a good hunting season, but the the surveys have shown that the the numbers are out there this year somewhat down a little bit from last year, but there is are surveyed all across the Prairie. Call region and in parts of northern and western Canada and Alaska and the US fish and wildlife service compiles all this information tries to come up with a l fall play index which is a an estimate of what the numbers might be this year. They're calling for a an estimate of about 84 million Birds coming down through those production areas in and moving south to their wintering areas. A lot of those. They're going to come through Minnesota. Hopefully in the hunting a lot of it depends on its success a lot of it depends on weather conditions weather patterns while the duck stack up where they stage during the migration, but the numbers are certainly there. So the potential is there for a good duck season. So that's one of the reasons why this is Big. Country because the the vegetation is here. The wetlands are here. The Prairies are here, but also a lot of them are hatching right that's true at work wearing a migration area and we're also part of an important production area to I mention the Prairie pothole area. That's a key figure. I think when we live in an area or grow up in an area, sometimes you don't realize the significance of it in a larger context, but pray pothole area consists of parts of Northwestern Iowa Western Southern Minnesota eastern half of the Dakotas little bit of the corner of Montana on the northeastern side and the Prairie provinces of Canada as well. And that's the Bread Basket for a duck production in the continent. It's not all that incredibly large an area. It's perhaps somewhere around three hundred thousand square miles estimates in the past a very dull that about perhaps 50% or more of the duck production on the continent comes from this Prairie pothole area. So it's an extremely important area historically and today in terms of duck production. We're talking about waterfowl here in Fergus Falls. Our phone number one 800-537-5252 1 800-537-5252. When we have years that are very dry and the wetlands become no longer wet, but dry doesn't really have a major effect on either the migration pattern or on the breathing patterns can have an effect on both we get those dry conditions if the dry conditions are widespread. What's a over the entire Prairie pothole area? A lot of the duck simply aren't going to breed. Some of them will move outside area to perhaps where there's better water conditions some of the bird simply just won't breathe. I'll just give up for that here. Now if it's a little more localized let's say Minnesota is dry, but the Dakotas are wet. It would probably be more likely the Ducks will shift from one area to another and that's certainly happens during migration to The Dakotas were dry for for several years. Now, they over the last three or four years have been extremely wet and when you re Are those dry wetlands are extremely attractive to Waterfall some of the reasons, why are duck hunting success? Perhaps hasn't been as good as some people would hope for is that birds are shifting during migration there to fill those better water areas to Hazard coming south from Canada and some of those other production areas and they're just they're opportunists are going to take advantage of the situation says they find them 1994 migration more in the northern part of the range until we got freeze up conditions. It kind of hit all at once all of a sudden the curtain just drop and we got a big cold front coming through and we had a tremendous migration. It was right to the last day or two of October in the first couple days in November anybody that was out hunting or out in the field at that point can remember cuz I just saw this tremendous number of birds pouring down and across the state and it actually led to the That are portrayed ours were shut down at the three different places. It was a Omaha Kansas City and Des Moines. I believe it was where they were temporarily shut down because of the sheer numbers of waterfall there in this guy is moving through in that particular point in time the traffic backs up in the waterfowl region is well over the course of the season, but you can get weather conditions like that where it just all comes with a bang like that you remember 95 time was that just a banner year for your duck hunting career actually for me last year was the best year but does Doug said if you don't happen to get if it comes through all at once and you don't happen to be available those two or three days a week to hunt you miss out on a hunting with the the waterfall all come and go in in a very short amount of time and it may not be the best hunting but it's nice to see that they're there that there that many waterfall. We're going to go to our phone lines now dick from Osseo is on the line with us this afternoon. Hello did go ahead with your question or comment? I know that all the hunting groups are the deer hunters the bull hundred and everybody donates a huge amount of time and money for the DNR and there was wondering if you could talk about how much does donations for restoration of habitats. And and how does the those benefits affect everybody and not just a hundred? Okay, that's that's a very good question his I don't know if since 1937 and Inception 1 billion dollars has been raised and put back into habitat restoration locally or in the state of Minnesota. They started the first project in Minnesota. I believe in 1985 and there has been about 14 million dollars raised in the state of Minnesota that has gone into 270 projects in the state in that amount of time locally Otter Tail County. I believe the figure is at about $365,000 of Ducks Unlimited money has gone into 7 major projects two of those one is the staying like project which is just east of Fergus Falls. And the other one is were sitting in it. The Prairie Wetlands Center was a recipient of some Ducks Unlimited money so I can answer your question as far as the money. Raised eight. I believe the figure again 85% of it of all monies raised goes right back into habitat restoration there. Very little small amount is Administrative. One of the other part to that question was what sorts of other benefits come along with those projects. Now these projects are designed specifically with waterfall benefits in mind, but I think it's important to realize there's a tremendous number of other species that benefit from Project waterfall, maybe the key species group there were targeting on these projects but there's a whole host of other grassland and Wetland species both game and non game that benefit from from these projects though. It's a insect I believed eu's figures indicate that there are at least 600 non-game species. So they're they're not counting ducks and deer and pheasant 600 species that are not hunted are benefited by do you projects? Absolutely question? Hi, I'm Pat and I I'm a landowner in Crow Wing County and my question is being a landowner only only owning one acre of land that they the county has That that is a wetland. I know I cannot build on this land. What is a family could do about a situation like this when it stings stop now. From Ducks Unlimited point of view that's a question. I can't answer. I guess that might have been answered easier on the last hour with Kevin and Tim that's not something that I'm able to answer. I guess. I don't know what the nature of this well and is there there are some programs that are available across the state that try to reimburse landowners for those values of those Wetlands various different easement type programs. I don't know if the college had a chance to look into some of those a good place to stop and be the local DNR office where the Soil and Water Conservation District Office York County Office are too and inquire to see what the type of white wine that you have on your property qualifies for any of these easement type programs where you might be able to gain some Financial reimbursement from it doesn't solve the problem with you can build on it or not. But it's perhaps we'll help the situation little bit of a situation but but they having five children. I think with the tux is it is important, but what about a family a family is very important. Are phone number today is one 800-537-5252. If you would like to call in and join our conversation and Rachel read me my guess or Doug Wells Wildlife manager for the Fergus Falls Office of the Department of Natural Resources and Tom Brimhall of the local Ducks Unlimited chapter. It's interesting to note that Minnesota is considered a fundraising Powerhouse in Ducks Unlimited raising three and a half million dollars last year alone and in Minnesota Fergus Falls, your Ducks Unlimited chapter is really at the top of the heat why so important here in Fergus Falls? Well, I think part of it Rachel is first off. I thought I would like to dispel maybe there's some meth the Ducks Unlimited committee members and Ducks Unlimited is about we do it because we want to be able to shoot ducks. So that's probably the least of it certainly do you is not about hunting it's about conservation. It's about habitat restoration and preservation. I think the reason we do so well in Fergus Falls is number one. We have a large committee some towns work with eight or ten people. We have a 40 + person committee. That's just the men's committee. The ladies also have a 20-person committee. We do it. I think we do so well, cuz we like what we're doing there the 40 of us like each other we do things a lot of us do things out of context with Ducks Unlimited entirely. We socialize with each other on other bases. So we're successful because we believe in what we're doing and we actually we really like what we're doing and I think that's the reason for our success and I can't emphasize enough that the reason also we are so successful is that the local businesses have absolutely bent over backwards to help us in our in our fundraising goals. We get we get literally thousands of dollars worth of donations from local businesses in without their support. We couldn't raise any money. And duck hunting is big business in Minnesota and very big business in the Fergus Falls area. Is it not Doug duck hunters in the state? And that that is the highest number of any state in the nation. So there's a tremendous amount of Interest across the state and those State Hunters duck Hunters pay for that privilege to hunt waterfowl in to increase habitat projects as well through various stamps. If there's a state duck stamp to cost $5 or every one of those duck Hunters as well as some art collectors as well or buying those stamps and there's also the federal duck stamp which cost $15 and every one of those Hunters plus collectors and others are buying at least one of those stamps some people buy more than one one for their license 1/2 just having their own collection, but generating a lot of Revenue in the interest is there if it's part of the tradition of this area and it dates back to the to the early settlers that moved here that they took advantage of the opportunities that were here from the tremendous number waterfall that they found when they moved here. Ducks Unlimited is a very powerful organization were talking about three-quarters of a million members nationally is their concern some concern the Ducks Unlimited has become so powerful and obviously so successful in raising money that it almost has become a policy maker ever get the sense that Ducks Unlimited is telling the Department of Natural Resources how things are going to go. No, I guess I don't have that feeling at all. I think they've it might impressionism and they stayed very focused on what their mission is. I mean, they're out there to try to ReStore Habitat provide more grasslands and more Wetlands the benefit a whole variety of species including waterfall and it's also my impression that they try to stay out of those political battles and policy fights and everything and they just too focused in on what they think they can do best. I would have thought I would agree with that I don't do you is not in the business to make policy basically do you was in the business to raise money to preserve wetlands and they leave the policy up to the policymakers Ducks Unlimited. I know of people who have retired and spend their full-time now on a volunteer basis for Ducks Unlimited traveling around raising money. There are huge donors Banquets full of 10,000 $15,000 contributors. What is it? That really gets the passion going? I'm sure a lot of nonprofit. Organizations would love to know the secret. Well, it don't and I I'm not so sure I can answer that we have in fact, we have a national sponsor chairman that lives in Fergus Falls and is on our committee and it's done exactly that he is retired and spends his whole time working for Ducks Unlimited eyes. A lot of it of course is a love for the outdoors and and an appreciation of of the natural order of things a lot of a 2 is in in the DU functions. I've been to I've been a member for about 10 years and the different the different conventions. I've gone to I have never yet met a person associated with the you that I didn't like that sounds very trite. But do you people are are good people to be around and maybe that's part of the passion is is everybody is committed enough to this and that may be our focus is such that everybody has a common ground and and everybody is genuinely likeable people at that might have a lot to do with it. Are phone numbers one 800-537-5252 we go now to Scott on the phone lines. Good afternoon, Scott. Go ahead with your question. My question is there is a proposed landfill going in in Dakota took me about seven miles South of the river. That was wondering if Ducks Unlimited and had an opportunity to be involved in the planning process for that was aware of that. Coming from Fergus Falls to you committee again. That's not it's beyond our scope. I guess I would have no idea what Ducks Unlimited involvement is down in that area organization Tom in that if he's interested in something going on in Dakota County. She contact that local chapter. Sure. There is a local chapter in Dakota County deed. She should contact. Yes. Sorry, this is what his formerly been a family farm and then was converted to Excavating and now they are digging large holes and dumping garbage along the banks of the river and I'm concerned about the effects. I'll have on wildlife in general and also water pump. Might the DNR be a place that he would want to call as well. What sounds like the sort of project that would normally undergo some level of environmental review and I think they DNR office with area Wildlife manager. There might be a good places to check into a my belly point you in the right direction or see what sort of review is already taken place. Thank you, sir for your question and comment. Today. We're going to continue now going to our phone lines are numbers one 800-537-5252. If you'd like to join this conversation Tom in Champlin, good afternoon, what you do with the money when you mentioned that it goes towards habitat. What does that mean? Exactly do you buy property or do you subsidize some efforts to redevelop it or what does that mean? Well, the money that comes in from the state duck stamp program goes almost entirely towards habitat project. So an example of a habitat project might be rebuilding the dykes up in the Roseville Wildlife Management Area that they create the impound what's behind those dogs that are attracted to Waterfall? It might go towards purchasing grass seed to establish nesting cover on Wildlife areas anywhere across western and southern Minnesota. It might go towards creating a new water control structure on a State Wildlife Management Area putting in a water control structure on a lake that's been designated for for wildlife management so we can draw the water levels down re-established emergent vegetation create a more favorable environment for a variety of wetland Wildlife species. Now the money from the federal duck stamp is used very heavily towards acquisition of small Wetland areas of the waterfowl production areas across the state and some of the refugees across the state. So in that case it can go towards acquisition. Thank you for your question this afternoon we go now to St.Paul where Jack is holding on the line. Good afternoon, Jack hear the recorded the taped interview at the beginning of the program and the fellow talking about the most thrilling thing was to see the ducks flying down and gliding down and so on and so on and I guess I I wonder sometimes what what the thrill is to sing that same beautiful creature explode in in Blood and feathers, and I guess you can tell where I'm coming from on this maybe it's because I'm I was born and raised in New York City or there's just something wrong with me, but I just never been able to understand that and I just be interested in in your comments. Well, it's kind of a up get so philosophical question perhaps and it's one I would have difficulty covering I think in the time we've got a lot of to us here and it not always easy to explain I guess as it is a hundred what motivates people to do the things I and I think I'll just answer the question perhaps in it in a different manner in perhaps trying to explain why just explain that hunting itself is a carefully regulated process through a lot of regulations in it. And we take great care in a field of wildlife management to try to ensure they were not damaging populations. If you look at the population, is it similar to a bank account? We want to make sure that through Harvest for taking an interest and not cutting in the principal. So that's the ultimate thing. I think you're is is make sure we're not damaging populations and we're just taking Surplus animals, but beyond that it is difficult to get into that sort of discussion. With this being a very unusual position if a person lived in Fergus Falls, well, not necessarily and certainly I would not deny anybody is right to disagree with hunting. I guess my comment to this gentleman would be that shooting the deck itself is certainly not not the focus. I've hunted literally hundreds of times where I've gotten absolutely nothing and it hasn't stopped me one second from going out again. So you shooting a duck itself is is you can call it a bonus. You can call it whatever you want. That's not what drives me I like being out there and I like seeing the Ducks too. So I again I would answer that we could spend hours on a philosophical discussion about whether hunting is right or wrong. But as long as I have a legal right to do it, I will continue to do it standing up the average of $300 a season for Duck Hunting that would make for some very expensive duck dinner. You couldn't afford to do it for food. It would be absolutely prohibitive So that obviously is not the Fighting for and at the same point older there's there's something some special feeling about providing your own food. I mean, the other extreme is buying everything in a plastic bag at the supermarket then what connection do you have with the land and all that sort of approach him when you're actually Harvest some of your own produce. However, some of your own meet with attorney regarding their weather in a Duck Blind at it. It gets into a pretty complex. We have John on the phone from Elk River good afternoon, John during the past 10 years or so. We've seen Canadian geese school from almost nothing is a point where they're over running the place and I particularly in areas where hunting is not allowed and I I was just wondering why we have so many Canadian geese and whether the same thing isn't going to happen with other species that we don't allow hunting on like the Wolves for example, or well above the level that they had intended to have for wolves now. Rest yourself. Yeah, I'll try to do in the short time frame. I could spend a lot of time on that but decent breed in Minnesota or part of a population are different populations of Canada. Geese what breed of Minnesota are largely the giant Canada Goose which around the turn of the century was largely extricated from the state populations. Are we discovered? There was a lot of work put into trying to re-establish populations of these and it's a tremendous success story and there's a lot of work from various individuals and groups and agencies that went into it. It's a tremendous success story and to the point of creating some problems with large numbers of geese that become new sense in some situations and people's Lawns and and back yards and docks and also causing damage in and crop Fields as well. One of the reasons that they continue to increase as we're also trying to manage for the populations of bees that migrate through the state in particular was called the Eastern Prairie population Breeze up in the Hudson Bay Area. Those birds are below goal populations. It's the main my current through minutes. What's all in a year like this? We're forced by agreements with the within the flyways and with Canada to restrict our Harvest done these migrant piece and you can't just say it's a complicated deal. But you are on the phone with this today. Go ahead with your question after noon. I just wanted to make a couple of quick comments. I'm particular about the last seen the bird out of the sky I speak with some people and specific my wife who wears a hard time seeing any blood drawn from an animal and yet she'll eat beef out of the supermarket in. What hunting does for me is provide me with the connection and it doesn't desensitize or insulate me from exactly how I interact with my environment than impact I have on it. I get a little frustrated with people who buy packaged meat but yet say that it's wrong to kill an animal when they're through their dollars are supporting that type of activity. And also I wanted to say that I hope people vote Yes for the referendum that's coming up in the state of Minnesota for hunting and fishing in and that was all Then why do you like to duck hunt? I'll give an example. I was out for opener and saw birds flying high and didn't shoot a one but I spent two hours trudging through the woods and got caught in a bog and had my dog out and I just had a great time watching my dog running around chasing snakes and frogs and Deb being out so early in the weather. It's the only time I actually get outside. Same question. We talk on the phone. You told me you've been hunting for 31 years. Hunting and you were hooked that first year that we heard Andy Anderson little bit earlier talked about it's cold. It's dark. It's wet snow rain sleep. What is it about duck hunting that the gets people think it is. A lot of it is your surroundings. I particularly don't like hunting in the rain. In fact, I won't do it but you know all the morning so I would I don't see the sun come up very often. I do during duck season. I'm not an early riser, but I will get up and there really is nothing more beautiful than being in a marsh pre-dawn and watching the sky change from from dark blue to Grey to the red when the sun comes up and hearing the marsh come alive. It's pretty quiet before dark and the birds start singing and you got various waterfall that start making noise and I've had it in in 65 degree weather that was short sleeve weather and I've hunted in driving snowing again without firing a shot at Enjoyed every minute of it because I don't get a chance to dude will I die get a chance, but I choose not to sit out in the pre-dawn hours in say February or July. I love being outside. I love the water. I like being on the water. I like being under the water. You know why I scuba dive and fish to so for me, it's it's being in that environment whether I'm shooting or not. I have thought out and just watch ducks fly in a blizzard without a gun at my side. So get that Thrills me just to be out there more of a ritual is a social is a cultural event that they go with the same group. They go to the same place. They have the same hotdish the night before deer hunting open it is is that the way you duck hunt is it's their kind of a ritual to do well not to some degree, but for me, well, I guess you could say it is some ritual but pretty much. Yes. I have a friend in northern, Minnesota. That I've had it with on and off for 12 actually every year for 25 years. So I guess you just call that ritual. Yes, I guess it is. We're going to go back to our phone lines. Hopkins is on the line with us. Good afternoon very much. And I'm one of the senior citizen Hunters that open the season was able to make one shot of the goose and Miss than a couple shots at Ducks, but I enjoyed the hunt very much and the one point I wanted to make one sits on weed mentioned about the fish and wildlife service and Dee you about the things I've done but in my case on my farm and like a parle county, it's a DNR Minnesota DNR that the furnished 3/4 of the price of two Dykes in order to create my duck Mart were some teenagers shot for geese opening day. Or opening weekend I should say and where I enjoyed the hunt very much and in addition of the DNR also in Salt Lake in Western Minnesota acquired the area and there's a flying goose and duck hunting area at Salt Lake. So in addition to the good work is the fish and wildlife service. I think the DNR should be mentioned also. Thank you for your call today appreciate the call. There's a lot of groups that are involved in this type of work and an individual's to a local conservation clubs. And we mentioned a few of them here that the list would be very lengthy. So there's there's a lot of people are involved in it. And why do people that do it all on their own two different kinds of ducks and it's for each different species. Can can you tell us are flying overhead? That's a mallard. That's a pintail or whatever. You got a limit on some of the number will you at least have to be able to identify those species that have restrictions on him? And there are restrictions. We have a sick bird daily bag limit, but as an example, you can only take for Mallards of which only two can be Hands-On. There are the restrictions to what ducks in that kind of thing. There's about 17-18 species of ducks that are common to the area and probably three species of geese Canada Goose has a big one of course and the but you do need to be able to identify at least which group of ducks it's and so, you know, whether there's any budget restrictions on it or what not but it can be done and it's not really all that difficult through certain patterns that you look for in body shapes. And what's the most desirable duck from 100 to another either they the probably the most popular one in terms of sheer numbers as the lights are too kind of bland that's why everybody likes them. So I'd Mallards a very good tasting at people that are into diver hunting hunting diving ducks would probably tell you that canvasbacks is why is kind of the king of the of the duck World Sterling the diving duck world? And I probably other people have their own preferences depending on how they like to do it and let's hear your personal opinion on that. I guess I would have to agree with Doug on the canvas back part and I tend to her diving ducks more than I do puddleducks, I guess as far as I'm concerned Mallard pintail is kind of a big deal for me because I've only seen two or three of them in my life. This is kind of the Eastern end of their range. So it's fun for me just to see a pintail. But as far as the diving ducks, I guess Canvasback would be king in my book. Lakeville on the line with us good afternoon. Go ahead with your question or comment would love to hear about 28 years and I used to do a lot of canoeing and we used to see two to three hundred waterfall and we don't anymore. It's it's really down and that's a concern and I was born up by Middle River and I wonder about the Agency Wildlife region how important that is up there. I guess the Middle River Goose capital and can you call me in about that about Agassi? Thank you for your question. And I would include Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area in that isn't important migration. Ovary area and production area too. So that's still as a has high importance around the state level 8 that you mentioned that you live on that no longer attracts waterfall apparently could be due to a variety of conditions including changes in the in the Watershed that was Changes in the in the lake itself in terms of the clarity of the water and what type of plants that supports. So it is a whole host of factors that could be coming into play. There we go online. Good afternoon Adam. They could take my call on Ricki Lake to apply to all the conservation efforts in the feelings of being outdoors is what really matters and dumb soccer very briefly about my I-Pass. I was born into hunting I was born into fishing. I was born into morning to all of that thing dummy. Every time I came to realize that it it's so it's so wrong and I don't understand why we can't appreciate nature without that killing its children and I like to make a point that the Nazi Holocaust was a very carefully regulated activity in them and how to find surf with animal then I don't think we need hours to debate the moral issue. I think it's pretty clear that these it's just no different than two in her own children, and I am sorry for being harsh. But I just I'm really confused. And in fact, I'm trembling right now that we can talk so blatantly about killing and I don't understand what we're teaching each other here in And I'm really I'm really scared honestly about what all this but I do understand that we have to conserve Art by nature. But why why are we killing it? Thank you for your comment Adam. Either of you like to respond to that anymore than you said already. I don't again I get he has he has his right to to his opinion and I respect that right but I don't happen to feel that way. And I guess I have that right then. I guess I'll leave it at that. There's metal art. I mean there's a 10 50% of the population. I think they would be considered Hunters about the same that would be considered anti-hunters some of what we've heard from a lot of the population. It would be characterized as non-hunters a night. I think those are the ones are going to make the decisions on the on the future of hunting and decide whether it's a justifiable from a biological and social standpoint question about how dangerous duck hunting is. We read the report of a hunter being shot in the face by a member of his Hunting Party Down in the Willmar area on Saturday that quite unusual. Is it a given that there going to be a number of accidents or fatalities among duck Hunters during the next two months or do you go Seasons without the single? What the exact record isn't safety record. I hadn't heard about this particular acts and I think one of the biggest potential dangers during the duck hunting season is people overloading their boats, perhaps going out on small marshes and encountering rough weather in the not having life personal flotation devices and getting caught in those types of situations. That's more typically the sort of situation that we hear about quotation devices. They've been built into jackets and things that hunters will where there is really been a decrease over the last number of years trying to promote that and I guess I don't know what the exact records are. Where Bruce is on the phone? Good afternoon, Bruce. and got my first trip when I was 4 and I don't I no longer hunt but I must say this my Fondest Memories growing up were of duck hunting and I would say that it was the one common thread the one cement that Drew my family together. and the cultural or social part of the the whole ritual if you want to call it that it's something that will stay with me forever and I I think running is a great way for people to get together to share the experiences of being out together and especially Fathers and Sons. I think what it can do and fathers and daughters for that matter that it can really be. any importance in really a spiritual part of I'm going up for kids and I think it's great. Thank you for your comments this afternoon. I'll Minnesota duck Hunters must purchase a $5 State duck stamp, but it's much more than a ticket to hunt intense competition over which painting will Grace the stamp has elevated the duck stamp to an art form. This year's winter is a wildlife artists from the Fergus Falls area John House of Mel B. And he joins us now at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls. Welcome John and congratulations Wildlife artist for 20 years you finish twice in the top five for the duck stamp contest. You got to call in late August you have one how big a deal is it? Personally? It's huge. You know it it's a personal thing that artist to artist. It's the Minnesota state duck stamp is kind of the crown jewel of State art competition. And so when you when you win it validates you professionally professionally as well and it even commercial. Yeah, there's in all honesty. There's a real commercial spin-off from this but horseshoes the placing in the top five to that was nice but no no it's a winner-take-all and so it's very the the the competition is extremely Keen the finest Wildlife artists in Minnesota throw their hat in the ring. And so yes, when when you win, it's you if you breathe a big sigh of relief when you say by Kali, we finally did it. Let's talk about the piece of art that you submitted in this year's competition. And again Hunters don't look for that this year. That will be your duck stamp. Next year 1999 and we have it on all the front pages of all these newspapers here. Tell us a little bit about your painting two years ago. I entered a pair of green Wing teal and looking back at the the one and it plays V two years ago. And when I got it back, I looked at it and I saw this wrong this wrong in this wrong and you know as any as with anything in life, you have to grow in in your chosen profession and so for probably a year-and-a-half after losing two years ago, I would make changes adjustments improvements Etc told her I took two years of schooling down in the Twin Cities 3 hours away. I kept modifying 1717 month or so I pulled the the new design out corrected adjusted fix it. Well, ma'am, that's a fair statement yes, but but I guess how are you going to excel at something if you don't go all the way yes, it's so important for you to win this competition because it's it's the it's the toughest it's the it's like the Olympics you look at these guys are trained for four years. They're making no monies are suffering hardship personal sacrifice great discomfort why it's a personal thing. But I didn't think artists were competitive Sisson unusual pairing. No, no, no, no, all of us are somewhat competitive in everything we do in that there is great satisfaction in being the best at something no matter what no matter who you are. There's tremendous I guess personal value when you set out to do something that maybe you're not very good at and at the end of the day or the end of the month or the end of the year or the end of 10 years, you've accomplished something that you set out to do that you couldn't do aren't we all in that that category? Let's talk about the medium that you used. Are you quite restricted in size of painting what you can use what the subject matter just give it's kind of very rich and very strict rules. All the artists have to enter the same size painting six and a half inches by 9 in which is a very small piece of a very small you and you put a white mat around the edge. You can't put any kind of a pretty framing on or anyting to to sway the judges so that picture after you know, you'd be out on your ear. If you are if you submitted something in a pretty frame, you're not a kryllyk gouache pen and ink pencil, you're not limited to the median, but it has to be original work now you can't copy. Anybody else you have to be it has to be your original design and you're not allowed to sign your name on the front of it when you submit it because it has to be anonymous so that again the judges are not swayed by any known artist or yes. Yes. Yes big crayon. Yeah, what does picture looks like describe this for our listeners? Obviously, there has to be a duck so you have to as an artist so you have to make a judgment as to what they're looking for. It's a gas, but you can look at the past spring of winners and get a pretty good idea as to what they're looking for mature birds of type of duck has his type one wants a different species each year. They have gone through the list of species that they called. Assorted Ducks the I think this might have been 22nd or 23rd winner. To be honest with you. I think there's only maybe five or six species left that are technically Minnesota species that migrate through Minnesota in the spring or back south in the fall and I happened to pick Green Wing teal because the ones that have won the ones that one in the beginning I heard the guys talking about hunting earlier, they talked about canvasbacks and balance will these are very popular species. They win early in the game wood ducks, etcetera. The only one the only species that are left are kind of this quote on quote. I hate to say this way, but the scraps it's the oddballs. It's the goofy. That's the scooters in the mergansers in the old squash that they're really Lake Superior species, but The only one in the in in out of the species left that I could pick from that I thought was common and popular was the green Wing teal to be honest with you. It's a miracle it was still left. And I said Kiddo. Why don't you answer something that if you win with it people will like it and that it'll is a popular speeches. You might sell some friends. Talk about selling point. I get a large check from the Department of Natural Resources for every duck stamps sold in 1999. You will receive actually nothing in emotional boost, but there's no there's no bag of money. And then when they get when the DNR cells are $5 stamps to Hunters starting next spring and by the way non-hunters collect the stamps as well because of the money goes to worthy causes as you were discussing earlier, but what will happen is when the stamps are ready by the through the state we will publish the art prints reading people have the option to buy them. You wouldn't tell me how much money are going to make but you did say a year salary so that that will hold us John house. Congratulations sweet also like to thank Doug Wells at the Department of Natural Resources, Brimhall of Fergus has Ducks Unlimited chapter this special Main Street radio broadcast is a production of Minnesota Public Radio. Engineers are Clif Bentley and Rick Gibson ski on location and Randy Johnson in St. Paul. Our producer is Sarah Meyer executive producer Mel Summerfield producer. Dan Gunderson would like to thank Tim boudin in the staff at Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls for allowing us to broadcast from their facility. We invite you to visit the Main Street website go to www.mpr.org will be able to hear this program as well as other Main Street reports the address again www.mpr.org and click on Main Street NPR's Main Street radio coverage of world issues. He's supported by the blandin foundation committed to strengthening communities through grant-making leadership training and convening Minnesota public radio's Main Street team is life anger. Damn Gunderson, Mark style and myself Rachel reabe. Members of the Minnesota public radio programming staff want to hear from you come to our public comment meeting Thursday, October 8th at 7 at the Nokomis Community Center 24th and East Minnehaha Parkway and South menu.