Outdoors Digest

Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2003

Hunter builds duck habitat

FLOODWOOD, Minn. - Dan Prusi has a different approach to waterfowl and waterfowl hunting than a lot of hunters.

"One of my objectives is to raise more ducks than I shoot each fall, and I'm doing that," Prusi said.

Prusi, 50, has spent the past 20 years turning his rural property near Floodwood into some of the best waterfowl and upland wildlife habitat in northeastern Minnesota. Walking through his 77 acres on mowed trails and pond dikes is like walking through a state wildlife management area. He has shared the roughly $35,000 cost with state and federal agencies and conservation groups.

Over the past two decades, Prusi has created 10 ponds and wetlands totaling 12 to 14 acres. He's cut trees and grown aspen for grouse habitat. He's put up more than 150 duck nesting boxes, about 65 of which are in place today. He's planted 3,500 trees.

"All my life, I dreamed of doing this," Prusi said. "When I was a kid, I had my toy animals, and I'd have these mini-habitats for them."

His property produces blue-winged teal and mallards, hooded mergansers and wood ducks. At its peak, Prusi's nesting boxes produced 82 ducklings. Now the average is about 50 per year.

Prusi does most of his waterfowl hunting within 10 miles of home, but not much on his own property.

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