Minnesota Wild Rice Season Is Underway But Rice May Not Be Ripe
The 2022 wild rice season officially opened across Minnesota on Monday, August 15, running through Friday, September 30. However, as harvesters may get exciting for the season, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wanted to share an important reminder.
Minnesota wild rice harvesters going out during the upcoming season can expect to find variable conditions this year across the state, and the DNR wants to remind all harvesters that rice stands must be ripe before they may be legally harvested.
It's important to know the regulations that help protect wild rice stands for future years. Minnesota’s green rice law makes it illegal to harvest unripe or “green” rice, even within the dates of the harvest season. So although rice beds may look like they are ready, ricers must make sure the grain is ripe and falling easily from the stalk before attempting to harvest it.
“While we’ve heard reports of good rice in some places this year, a cooler early spring meant many lakes had late ice-out and the wild rice growing season was pushed back up to two weeks,” said Ricky Lien, DNR wetland habitat team supervisor. “Consequently, wild rice may ripen later than normal. Ricers need to remember that it is illegal to harvest green rice.”
The DNR points out that their early reports, along with reports from tribal biologists, on the condition of this year’s wild rice have been mixed across central and northern Minnesota. Therefore it's important for those harvesting to do some scouting to find areas with good strands of rice.
Wild rice harvesters are also encouraged to check the conditions report, which is available each year on the DNR’s wild rice management page, along with license, regulation and safety information.
For other details that may not be in the conditions report, anyone looking for more information on wild rice in their area can contact their local DNR wildlife manager or a Shallow Lakes Program specialist.
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