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Hunters register 111,000 deer through third weekend

Minnesota hunters registered 111,000 deer through the third and last weekend of firearms deer season, down 31,000 from the same period in 2013, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

So far this year during special hunts and the archery, early antlerless and firearms seasons, hunters have harvested 127,000 deer, down from the 2013 to-date harvest total of 160,000.

This year’s lower harvest is by design because regulations were implemented to place more deer – particularly does – off limits to increase Minnesota’s deer population.

The DNR’s ongoing deer management work also includes upcoming revisions to the deer population goals for large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota. This is part of a multi-year goal-setting process for the entire state. People interested in helping set these deer population goals can get more information on the process and opportunities for involvement at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

Additional deer will be harvested during the late southeastern season, which runs through Sunday, Nov. 30, and the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 29, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 14. The archery season also runs through Wednesday, Dec. 31.




Hunters register 102,000 deer through second weekend

Minnesota hunters registered 102,000 deer through the second weekend of firearms deer season, down 31,000 from the same period in 2013, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

So far this year, hunters during special hunts, and the archery and firearms seasons, have harvested 115,000 deer, down from the 2013 to-date harvest total of 147,500.

“Comparing this year’s harvest to harvests in previous years doesn’t necessarily reflect hunter opportunity or the number of deer on the landscape in 2014,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. This year’s lower harvest is by design because regulations were implemented to place more deer – particularly does – off limits to increase Minnesota’s deer population.

The DNR’s ongoing deer management work also includes upcoming revisions to the deer population goals for large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota. This is part of a multi-year goal-setting process for the entire state. People interested in helping set these deer population goals can get more information on the process and opportunities for involvement at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

In much of Minnesota, the deer season concluded on Sunday, Nov. 16. Additional deer will be harvested during the northern rifle zone season, which continues through Sunday, Nov. 23; the late southeastern season, which runs Saturday, Nov. 22, through Sunday, Nov. 30; and the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 29, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 14. The archery season also runs through Wednesday, Dec. 31.




Hunters register 54,000 deer during first weekend

Minnesota hunters registered 54,000 deer during the first three days of firearms deer season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Final numbers from the weekend show that the number of deer registered dropped 30,000 from 2013. So far this year, including special hunts and the archery season, hunters have harvested 67,000 deer, down from the 2013 to-date harvest total of 100,000.

“Comparing this year’s harvest to harvests in previous years doesn’t necessarily reflect hunter opportunity or the number of deer on the landscape in 2014,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. This year’s lower harvest is by design because regulations were implemented to place more deer – particularly does – off limits to increase Minnesota’s deer population.

The DNR’s ongoing deer management work also includes upcoming revisions to the deer population goals for large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota. This is part of a multi-year goal-setting process for the entire state. People interested in helping set these deer population goals can get more information on the process and opportunities for involvement at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

In much of Minnesota, the deer season continues through Sunday, Nov. 16. Additional deer will be harvested during the northern rifle zone season, which continues through Sunday, Nov. 23; the late southeastern season, which runs Saturday, Nov. 22, through Sunday, Nov. 30; and the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 29, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 14.




Deer hunters in far southeastern Minnesota  
encouraged to submit harvested deer for CWD sampling

Southeastern Minnesota deer hunters who harvest a deer in permit areas 348 and 349 are encouraged to have their deer sampled for chronic wasting disease (CWD) during the opening weekend of the firearms hunting season.

Due to the discovery of CWD in neighboring Allamakee County, Iowa, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be conducting CWD surveillance in those two permit areas along the Iowa border until 450 samples have been collected.

“Working with hunters to sample the herd for evidence of CWD is our best opportunity for early detection of the disease in Minnesota,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager with the DNR. “Early detection is important from the perspective of limiting disease spread, and we will make the process as quick as possible to get hunters on their way.” 

Although CWD has not been found in permit areas 348 and 349, the CWD management plan calls for surveillance when a new infection is discovered near Minnesota.

Hunters are also reminded that deer must be registered in person if they were harvested in these areas and registered during the opening weekend of the firearms season.

Registration stations listed below will be staffed beginning on the opening weekend (Saturday, Nov. 8, and Sunday, Nov. 9) of the firearm season. Phone and internet registration options for these areas will not be available on opening weekend. Deer must be brought to a walk-in registration station and hunters are strongly encouraged to allow sampling of their deer at a CWD surveillance station.

CWD surveillance is not new to southeastern Minnesota and sampling will only take a few minutes. Cooperator patches will be available for people who donate a sample.

DNR staff will be working at eight sampling sites from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Nov. 8-9. CWD surveillance sample locations are:

  • Brownsville - (Bissen’s Tavern) 202 S. Third St., Brownsville, MN 55919.
  • Caledonia - (True Value) 520 Old Highway Drive, Caledonia, MN 55921.
  • Chatfield - (MSX Nexgen) 105 Highway 30 W. Chatfield, MN 55923.
  • Houston - (Houston Amoco Food Shop) 801 E. Cedar St., Houston, MN 55943.
  • Lanesboro - (BP Gas Station) 100 Sheridan St. W., Lanesboro, MN 55949.
  • Mabel - (Mabel BP Gas) 305 SR-44 Mabel, MN 55954.
  • Rushford - (Pam’s Corner Convenience) 105 State Road 16, Rushford, MN 55971.
  • Spring Grove - (Solie Services) 118 W. Main St., Spring Grove, MN 55974.

If surveillance goals are not met during the opening 3A weekend, select stations will be worked the opening weekend of the 3B season from Nov. 22-23. For more information on CWD surveillance in these areas, see www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer/cwd.




 Conservative 2014 deer season will rebuild herd, challenge hunters   
By Tom Landwehr, commissioner, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Like more than 400,000 others, I am anxiously awaiting Saturday, Nov. 8, when Minnesota’s firearms deer hunting season begins.

There’s nothing like it. The days of advance scouting. The physical struggle of putting up the new stands. The straining for vision and sound in the pre-dawn light of opening day. Anticipation is in full swing for weeks, and then it is upon us.

As I prepare for this year’s hunt, I am fully aware that I, like many other hunters, am less likely to bag a deer than in recent years. In fact, the lowest deer harvest in decades is expected under a harvest plan designed to rebuild the herd. We are conserving deer – does in particular -- this season to improve deer numbers in the future.  

Overall, most hunters in the state will be able to harvest only one deer. In much of northeastern Minnesota, where two consecutive severe winters took a toll on deer, hunters will only be able to shoot bucks. For me, someone who loves to eat venison, it will be tough to let a big doe go by.  But, the deer herd can rebound quickly, and passing on the doe this year will contribute to a much larger herd next year.

For much of the recent past, the deer herd has been at historic high levels, and harvests have reflected that. In the past five years, and under a plan devised with hunter and landowner input, the DNR deliberately reduced the size of the herd. Today’s populations are close to the goal numbers we set some six years ago. The severe winters of the last two years have driven herd levels lower than where we’d wanted them.

Over the past two years, we at the DNR have heard from hunters that deer numbers are now too low and that efforts to reduce deer numbers have gone too far. In listening sessions and in other ways, many have said it is time to rebuild the population. We agree.

So, this will be a conservative deer season with more protections for antlerless deer throughout much of the state. The harvest could be as low as 120,000. That’s not many deer compared to recent harvests that have approached 200,000 animals.  But, because they respond quickly, we will likely see some liberalization even next year.

Meanwhile, do know the DNR needs your help in re-evaluating deer population goals across the state. This goal-setting process began in 2012 in southern Minnesota and moved to southeastern Minnesota in 2014. Goals for the remainder of Minnesota will be set in 2015 and 2016. We want to hear from you.

How can you get involved? Starting in January, you can send in comments or attend public meetings to discuss deer populations in the region or area where you hunt, live or work. You’ll also be able to provide input through a questionnaire designed for the process. You can even volunteer to serve on one of five advisory teams that will recommend deer population goals for each goal-setting block. You can nominate yourself through Monday, Nov. 17. Apply online at www.mndnr.gov/deer. 

Even with the reduced harvest, I am really looking forward to the deer opener. I will be spending much of the season with my son, Hunter. He’s a good partner. Like me, he enjoys the sights and sounds of the woods, likes sharing stories at the end of the day, and really likes the report of his trusty .308.

It’s possible we’ll see some antlerless deer we can’t harvest, like many other folks. And that’s OK. It’s OK because we are rebuilding the herd. And it’s OK because for us success is not only about filling tags. It’s also about spending time together, being hunters, enjoying the outdoors and building the memories. We’Il have a good time together. And I expect even better times ahead.


 Conservative deer season will lower harvest


Hunters may not see fewer deer when firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 8, but regulations implemented to help increase Minnesota’s deer population will place more of those deer off limits, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

“By design, this year’s deer harvest will be one of the lowest we’ve seen in decades,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader. “In fact, our total harvest this year may end up coming in around 120,000, a level not reported since the early 1980s.”

Because hunters can only harvest bucks in some places and fewer antlerless permits were offered, the 2014 harvest will fall significantly from the 170,000 deer harvested in 2013.

A one-deer bag limit rules most of the state and opportunities to take additional antlerless deer are few and far between, with only seven of 129 deer permit areas and some special hunts allowing the use of bonus permits. The greatest impacts will be in the northeast, the region hardest hit by severe winter weather the past two years, where most of the permit areas only allow the harvest of bucks.

In general, regulations over the past decade have been implemented to reduce the deer population to goals set through a public process and have become more conservative as goals were met. This year’s season reflects not only the effects of winter weather but a response to public interest in growing the population. However, with a return of more moderate winter weather, future seasons will not be similarly lean.

“This season is a bit of a pause prior to revisiting deer goals for most of the state over the next two years,” McInenly said. “Once we are through that process, we’ll have a course set for management.”

Given past experience with times when deer populations are lower, deer populations can respond fairly quickly when harvest is limited, particularly when combined with more moderate winters. For example, after two severe winters in the mid-1990s, the 1997 deer season harvest was 144,000 deer; by 2000, the harvest had rebounded to more than 212,000 deer. 

For more information on deer hunting, see www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.    
   
Northeast region
In the northeast region there are lower deer densities than in past years. However, differences across the landscape mean some hunters might find good or even better deer numbers than last year, while others might find the opposite. Regardless of how many deer are seen by hunters, regulations will limit harvest to one deer, and in some areas only bucks.

“Hunting in quality fall habitat and spending time in the woods prior to opening day is more important than ever during years of low deer densities,” said Jeff Lightfoot, northeast regional wildlife manager. “To be successful in harvesting deer, hunters will need to put in the extra time to know where deer are and where they aren’t.”

Due to a series of severe to moderately severe winters, deer densities are below established population goals in most permit areas in the northeast. The conservative regulations eliminate or reduce the harvest of antlerless deer, allowing the deer population to rebound.

“Providing acceptable deer densities for the public is important to area wildlife managers,” Lightfoot said. “To boost deer densities we’re improving deer habitat and considering deer when planning how, when and where to harvest timber on public land, all in addition to the regulations that will limit the number of deer harvested this season.”

Northwest region
Hunters in the northwest region can expect similar to improved deer numbers over last season.

“Hunters will find deer in all areas of the region, though many areas are near or just below goal in terms of deer population,” said John Williams, northwest regional wildlife manager. “The anticipated harvest will be lower than the previous several years due to harvest strategies in place this year that will move populations up toward goal.”

Cropland harvest of corn and beans is behind normal this year and there may be a good amount of standing corn in some areas leading up to and perhaps into the firearms deer season.

All permit areas except Itasca State Park (permit area 287) and the Northwest Angle (permit area 114) will be either lottery or hunter choice, which means hunters in either permit area will only be allowed to shoot one deer. In hunter choice areas, a hunter can harvest one deer of either sex.

Southern region
In the southern region, cropland harvest is as usual a factor for hunters to consider.

“In this mostly open, agricultural part of Minnesota, row crop fields have been experiencing a delayed harvest pace and standing corn in the field may impact hunting,” said Ken Varland, southern regional wildlife manager.

However, the deer herd in the southern region is quite robust following the winter of 2013 to 2014, which was less severe than other parts of Minnesota. Conditions are abnormally dry in a portion of south-central Minnesota despite heavy rains in June that prevented planting of crops in some areas.

“Even though some fawns didn’t make it through last winter, deer came into the spring in relatively good condition. For the most part, we are near the population goal for the region,” Varland said.

Central region
Crop harvest and weather are two factors for hunters to consider in the central region.

“Weather’s always a fairly big determinant of deer harvest,” said Cynthia Osmundson, central region wildlife manager. “And crop harvest will have some impact. We’re going to see a really late crop harvest, and some corn will probably not be harvested this year because of wet conditions.”

Deer will hide in corn not harvested, with wet conditions making it more difficult to drive deer.

A conservative season will also likely affect hunter behavior, meaning people could be waiting longer to squeeze the trigger or loose an arrow, and a longer wait means a lower probability of taking deer. But despite a conservative season in which harvest is expected to be significantly lower for that reason alone, there are still deer to be found in the DNR’s central region, especially in the far southeastern portion of the state.

Another finer point: In the metro deer management area (deer permit area 601), the harvest regulation has stayed the same as last year, which means hunters can take an unlimited number of antlerless deer. In response to the more liberal harvest regulations in the metro deer management area, Osmundson has been contacted by numerous hunters interested in hunting in the metro area for the first time.




IN THIS ISSUE
Early antlerless deer season to open in limited areas in southeast
DNR seeks volunteers to join deer goal setting 
Share a passion for deer hunting during youth deer season Oct. 16-19

 

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Early antlerless deer season to open in limited areas in southeast

Hunters in portions of southeastern Minnesota can harvest antlerless deer in an early antlerless season from Thursday, Oct. 16, to Sunday, Oct. 19, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

“The early antlerless season addresses high deer densities in localized areas,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader. “Hunters should be aware that there is little public land within the early antlerless hunt areas, which consist of parts of deer permit areas 346 and 349 in Winona, Houston and Filmore counties.”

Areas open during the season are identified on the fold-out map that accompanies the DNR Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook. The map is also available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Hunters are encouraged to review the maps and rules to identify opportunities prior to the season.”

“This is the second year we have implemented an early antlerless season in specific portions of southeastern Minnesota,” McInenly said. “We are continuing to evaluate the approach as an additional tool to manage deer at a geographic scale below that of the deer permit area.” 

This year, the early antlerless season coincides with the four-day special youth deer season.

In the early antlerless hunt, only antlerless deer may be taken, and hunters may use up to five early antlerless permits. Deer harvested during the special season do not count toward a hunter’s statewide limit during the regular season. Early antlerless permits cost $7.50 for residents and may be purchased wherever hunting licenses are sold.

All deer harvested during this season must be tagged with an early antlerless permit. Hunters must also have a valid archery, firearms, or muzzleloader license. Legal firearms or archery gear may be used as long as the appropriate parent license is in possession. 

                                                                            -30-

NOTE: Map attached.  

 

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    Oct. 6, 2014

DNR seeks volunteers to join deer goal setting teams  
   
People interested in helping the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources establish deer population goals for large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota can apply online at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

Volunteers are being sought to join five advisory teams that will develop deer population goals in various regions of the state. Each team will focus on deer goals for a specific region, or goal-setting block, of the state. Goal-setting blocks consist of multiple deer permit areas that have been grouped by habitat type.

“The advisory teams provide a great opportunity for DNR staff to work directly with citizens who are interested in deer management,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “By bringing in diverse, local interests, the DNR aims to collectively identify deer population goals that are ecologically sustainable and socially acceptable.” 
 
Individuals can serve on one team. They nominate themselves by completing an online application. The application period is now open and ends Monday, Nov. 17.

Participants will be selected to represent the wide range of public interests in deer management including hunting, recreation, farming, forestry, public health and safety. They also will be chosen to achieve geographic representation within a goal-setting block.

Deer population goals will be set for 40 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas during the upcoming process, which concludes in May 2015 with the announcement of final goals. Areas selected for goal setting in 2015 are:

  • Area 1 - Superior Uplands Arrowhead, which includes permit areas 117, 122, 126, 127, 180.
  • Area 2 - North Central Plains Moraines, which includes permit areas 169, 172, 184, 197, 210, 298.
  • Area 3 - Pine Moraines, which includes permit areas 241, 242, 246, 248, 251, 258, 259, 287.
  • Area 4 - East Central Uplands, which includes permit areas 152, 155, 156, 157, 159, 183, 221, 222, 225, 247, 259.
  • Area 5 - Sand Plain-Big Woods, which includes permit areas 223, 224, 227, 229, 235, 236, 249, 285, 338, 339.

Teams of 15 to 20 people will participate in one or two public meetings and two to three team meetings in their goal block. All meetings will take place between February and March of 2015.

Once selected, each team will review biological and social data as well as public input collected at meetings and through online and written questionnaires. After considering and discussing this information, each team will recommend a deer population goal for each of the permit areas within its goal-setting block.

DNR staff will review the data for each goal block as well as advisory team goal recommendations and final public comments on team recommendations before making final goal decisions.

This is the third year the DNR has worked with citizens to reassess and re-establish deer population goals in Minnesota. Goals for southwestern and a portion of northern Minnesota were set in 2012. Goals for southeastern Minnesota were set last year. Goals for the deer permit areas not part of the 2015 process will be set in 2016.

People don’t have to be advisory team members to provide input on deer population goals. There will be a number of opportunities for public input and comments this coming winter. Information about the goal-setting process and opportunities for input and involvement is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/deer.
 
                                                                              -30- 

 

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                 Oct. 6, 2014

Share a passion for deer hunting during youth deer season Oct. 16-19

Youth ages 10-15 can participate in a special deer season that runs from Thursday, Oct. 16, to Sunday, Oct. 19, in 27 permit areas of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota, including the 601 Twin Cities metro permit area.

“Youth can hunt with a mentor in a special season that’s all about putting the attention on the youth during the whole hunting experience,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Deer permit areas open to the hunt are: 101, 105, 111, 114, 201, 203, 208, 209, 256, 257, 260, 263, 264, 267, 268, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349 and 601. In certain portions of permit areas 346 and 349 in Winona, Houston, and Filmore counties, there will also be an early antlerless season for all licensed hunters who purchase early antlerless permits.

Youth must meet all firearms safety requirements, purchase a license and use the appropriate firearm for the permit area in which they are hunting. Youth may take a deer of either sex and may only take one deer during the youth season.

An adult mentor must accompany the youth but may not hunt or carry a firearm and does not need a license. However, in the early antlerless sub-permit areas of 346 and 349, the adult can participate in the early antlerless hunt while being a mentor. Hunters and mentors must meet blaze orange requirements.

Public land is open as is private land, provided the youth hunter has landowner permission.

Participating in the youth deer season does not affect eligibility of youth to participate in the regular firearms deer season but any deer harvested do count against the youth’s season bag limit. For more information, see the page 34 of the DNR Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook under the heading Special Youth Deer Season, found online atwww.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.




Conservative deer season set; hunting licenses go on sale Aug. 1

Hunters can expect a conservative 2014 deer season designed to rebuild deer numbers across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

“Hunters should check the 2014 hunting regulations closely because only one deer can be harvested in 95 percent of the state,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the DNR. “To shoot a doe, hunters may have to apply for a permit in areas where they haven’t in the past and, in some places, no antlerless harvest will be allowed.” 

In 69 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to shoot an antlerless deer. Only bucks can be hunted in 14 areas. In 38 areas, hunters have the choice of shooting a doe or a buck. Bonus permits allowing hunters to shoot more than one deer may only be used in seven permit areas and for some special hunts.

“Many hunters voiced concerns about current deer densities and their hunting experiences in recent years. We heard from hunters at the listening sessions we conducted, in the online comments we solicited and by contacting us directly,” McInenly said. “This past winter only added to those concerns so this year’s conservative approach will protect more antlerless deer, reduce the statewide harvest and allow the population to rebound.”

Northeastern Minnesota hunters will feel the greatest impact from a bucks-only season. In bucks-only areas, no antlerless deer may be harvested by any hunter, including those with archery or youth licenses. McInenly said that most of these areas are now below goal and that this year’s conservative approach is consistent with the DNR’s long-term commitment to manage deer populations at established goal levels.

Hunters can enter the lottery for antlerless permits beginning Friday, Aug. 1. The deadline to apply is Thursday, Sept. 4. Hunters may apply using both their firearm and muzzleloader licenses. If hunters are selected for both licenses, they must select the one season in which they want to shoot an antlerless deer.

Deer hunting licenses, lottery applications and special hunt applications are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-665-4236 or online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. Lottery winners will be notified in October.

Permit area breakdown

Bucks-only deer areas in 2014 are deer permit areas 108, 117, 118, 119, 122, 126, 127, 169, 176, 177, 178, 180, 181 and 199.

Lottery deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 101, 103, 105, 110, 111, 152, 155, 156, 159, 171, 172, 173, 179, 183, 184, 197, 203, 208, 213, 229, 234, 237, 238, 242, 246, 247, 250, 251, 252, 253, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298 and 299.

Hunter choice deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 157, 201, 209, 210, 214, 215, 218, 219, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 227, 230, 232, 233, 235, 236, 239, 240, 241, 248, 249, 254, 255, 256, 257, 292, 293, 338, 339, 341, 342, 344, 345, 347 and 348.

Managed deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 114, 287 and 343.

Intensive deer areas in 2014 are permit areas 182, 346 and 349.

The DNR strongly advises hunters to review new deer hunting regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes before applying. Current and up-to-date information is available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Information about deer management and upcoming deer population goal setting during the next two years is available at www.mndnr.gov/deer.




Learn deer hunting basics at Aug. 9 clinic

People can learn the basics of deer hunting at an event being offered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Saturday, Aug. 9.

In hands-on stations, participants can learn how to track deer, find hunting land, safely place a deer stand, learn to shoot shotguns, rifles and bows, and about deer habits and habitat.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested in learning the basics of deer hunting and getting hands-on experience,” said Linda Bylander, coordinator of the DNR’s Becoming an Outdoors Family program.

The event will be noon to 5 p.m.at the Forest Lake Sportsmen’s Club near Forest Lake. Youth ages 10 and older are welcome to attend accompanied by a guardian.

Instructors will include DNR wildlife staff, DNR conservation officers, volunteers and members of the Forest Lake Sportsmen’s Club. Register by contacting Bylander, 218-833-8628, or linda.bylander@state.mn.us.

Registration is limited and there is a $10 per person or $15 per family fee. To see a list of similar DNR programs, visitwww.mndnr.gov/bow.




Apply by Aug. 15 for youth deer hunts at state parks and refuges

Minnesota youth have from Tuesday, July 1 until Friday, Aug. 15, to apply for one of 17 special deer hunts in October and November.

“Youth accompanied by a parent, guardian or mentor can hunt in select state parks and other refuge areas during these annual opportunities,” said Mike Kurre, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources mentoring coordinator.

Of the 17 special hunts, 15 are firearms hunts for youth ages 12-15; two are archery hunts for youth ages 12-17.

Participating in a youth deer hunt does not preclude the youth from participating in the regular firearms deer season, but any deer harvested do count against the youth’s season bag limit. An adult parent, guardian or mentor must accompany the youth at all times while hunting, but only the youth may hunt. Youth and their mentor must attend a mandatory pre-hunt orientation clinic.

A limited number of either-sex permits are available for the following hunts:

ARCHERY

  • Camp Ripley Archery Hunt (open to youth 12-17), archery, 175 permits, hunt is Oct. 11-12, clinic is Oct. 10-11.
  • Lake Alexander Preserve (open to youth 12-17), archery, 20 permits, hunt is Oct. 11-12, clinic is Oct. 10.

FIREARMS

  • Afton State Park, firearms, 20 permits, hunt is Nov. 8-9, clinic is Oct. 18.
  • Banning State Park, firearms, six permits, hunt is Nov. 1-2, park will mail clinic information.
  • Blue Mounds State Park, firearms, 10 permits, hunt is Nov. 22-23, clinic is Nov. 21.
  • Buffalo River State Park, firearms, 14 permits, hunt is Nov. 8-9, clinic is Nov. 7.
  • Camden State Park, firearms, 12 permits, hunt is Nov. 1-2, clinic is Oct. 31.
  • Great River Bluffs State Park, firearms, 20 permits, hunt is Oct. 25-26, clinic is Oct. 11.
  • Itasca State Park, firearms, 75 permits, hunt is Oct. 25-26, clinic is Oct. 18 or Oct. 24.
  • Lake Bemidji State Park, firearms, 20 permits, hunt is Oct. 18-19, clinic is Oct. 17.
  • Lake Shetek State Park, firearms, 12 permits, hunt is Oct. 25-26, clinic is Oct. 24.
  • Rydell National Wildlife Refuge, firearms, 20 permits, hunt is Oct. 18-19, clinic is Sept. 20.
  • St. Croix State Park, firearms, 90 permits, hunt is Nov. 1-2, park will mail clinic information.
  • Savanna Portage State Park, firearms, 25 permits, hunt is Oct. 25-26, clinic is Oct. 24.
  • Split Rock Creek State Park (new in 2014), 10 permits, hunt is Oct. 25-26, clinic is Oct. 24.
  • Tettegouche State Park, firearms, 10 permits, hunt is Oct. 18-19, clinic is Oct. 17.
  • Zippel Bay State Park, firearms, 20 permits, hunt is Oct. 18-19, park will mail clinic information.

Youth must apply for the hunt of his or her choice, which can be done at any DNR license agent; the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, or online at 
www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. For archery hunts, apply with code 630; for firearms hunts, apply with code 631.

If the number of applications exceeds the number of permits, a lottery will be conducted. Youth may only apply for one archery hunt and one firearms hunt.

Successful applicants also must meet all firearms safety requirements, purchase all appropriate licenses and follow hunting regulations.

In addition to the 17 application-only hunts in state parks and refuge areas, any youth ages 
10-15 can also participate in a special deer season that runs from Thursday, Oct. 16 through Sunday, Oct. 19, in 27 permit areas that encompass portions of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota and portions of the Twin Cities metro area.

For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov/discover and click on youth deer hunts.




New deer population goals for southeastern Minnesota announced

More deer in much of southeastern Minnesota is the anticipated outcome of a citizen-led deer population goal-setting process that increases deer numbers in five of the nine permit areas under review.

“By managing for these new goals, the majority of permit areas should experience population increases,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

DNR increased goal densities in deer permit areas 341, 342, 345, 347 and 348. Permit areas 343, 346 and 349 will maintain existing goal densities. Whitewater Wildlife Management Area, permit area 344, will maintain current densities.

Although deer density goals were not changed for permit areas 343, 346 and 349, populations in those areas already are above goal so management will continue to be designed to lower deer densities to goal in those areas.

“Deer densities in 343, the area that includes Rochester, will be managed to remain roughly the same,” McInenly said. “The special disease management zone in the Pine Island area will be eliminated and merged with permit areas 341 and 343, allowing deer numbers to recover from chronic wasting disease management efforts.”

DNR will allow hunters to harvest more deer in permit areas 346 and 349 to significantly reduce deer densities because of extremely high deer densities observed during aerial surveys this past winter.

With the exception of those two far southeastern permit areas, deer management to achieve goals in many permit areas will require conservative harvest strategies this coming fall that likely will include a one-deer bag limit. Harvest management will be designed to gradually move populations toward goals during the next few years.

The new deer population goals are the result of an extensive public process initiated late last fall. The process emphasized collection of public input prior to convening a stakeholder advisory team.

“By seeking a consensus-based recommendation from a group of local citizens with diverse perspectives and experiences, the process was designed to result in sustainable, citizen-based goals that were publicly supported,” McInenly said. “We had a good deal of public interest and very dedicated volunteers.”

Southeast advisory team members were selected through an open nomination process and members were tasked with developing recommendations for new deer population goals after considering biological and social data.

Team members considered more than 4,000 responses to hunter and landowner surveys, comments from nearly 600 online or meeting questionnaires, public meetings and written communication to the DNR. They reviewed information related to deer populations, harvest trends, habitat, browsing impacts and public health and safety. Other factors associated with deer management also were considered.

After collecting public comment on team recommendations, the DNR approved eight of the nine team recommendations without revision. A slight revision to the team recommendation for permit area 342 was necessary to prevent a population increase of nearly 50 percent from the current level, which would have established a deer density that available habitat could not support.

“Only three percent of surveyed hunters desired such an increase and a number of team members suggested they would have preferred an intermediate level of increase,” McInenly said. “The revised density range still exceeds the level suggested by most survey respondents but better reflects desires identified from more recent public comment and advisory team discussion.”

More information on southeastern Minnesota’s new deer population goals and plans for goal setting in the remainder of the state during the next two years is available on the DNR’s deer management Web page athttp://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/deer/mgmt.html?tab=1#segoals.




 Hunting plan aims to reduce deer-human conflicts in Duluth area

Reducing deer and human conflicts in Duluth and surrounding communities by extending the firearm deer season for one week each fall will be discussed from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, May 8, in Duluth, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said. 

The meeting will be at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gitchee Gumee Conference Center, 6201 Congdon Boulevard.

“Deer-human conflicts are common in the area, while hunter access is limited,” said Chris Balzer, DNR area wildlife manager in Cloquet. “Designating the area a metro deer management area emphasizes just how different this area is from other permit areas and gives local governments more flexibility to manage deer populations.”

The DNR would allow unlimited harvest of antlerless deer during any open deer season in the area that now comprises deer permit area 182. Communities affected by the change would include Duluth, Hermantown, Proctor, Esko and Cloquet. Local governments would determine whether hunters could use bows, firearms or both within their jurisdictions.

Deer populations and hunting are managed the same way in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, which is designated as deer permit area 601. The area in question in and around Duluth would become the state’s second metropolitan deer management area.

Hunter access is limited in the area because most land is privately owned or located within city boundaries, creating refuge-like areas where deer can isolate themselves from hunters.

“Despite a change in 2005 that altered boundaries so deer harvest could be set higher in this area, deer populations remain high,” Balzer said. “The hope is that allowing hunting for an additional week and directly involving local governments will result in more deer being harvested.” 

City officials from Duluth and representatives of the Arrowhead Bowhunters Alliance will provide additional details and discuss their perspectives at the meeting and public comments will be recorded.

Additional information about the proposed change and an online comment form will be available beginning Friday, May 9, on the DNR’s deer management web page at www.mndnr.gov/deer. Written comments may be mailed to Chris Balzer, Cloquet area wildlife manager, 1604 Highway 33 South, Cloquet, MN, 55720 or sent via email to christian.balzer@state.mn.us. The deadline for comments is Monday, May 19.


Comments sought on southeastern Minnesota deer population goals

Comments on southeastern Minnesota deer population goals recommended by a citizen advisory team will be accepted Tuesday, April 8, through Sunday, April 20, on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

“We’ve used a fairly extensive process to revisit deer population goals in southeastern Minnesota,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “To date, the public engagement process has included hunter and landowner surveys, public meetings and opt-in questionnaires, and most recently, the assistance of a citizen advisory team to review public input and provide recommendations for revised deer population goals.”

People serving on the 21-member advisory committee represented a cross-section of interests including archery, firearm and muzzleloader hunters; area residents and landowners; farmers, orchard owners and operators; land managers, local government staff and appointed officials; local business owners; and members of hunting, conservation and agricultural organizations.

Specific population goal recommendations for each of the nine deer hunting areas that comprise the goal-setting area of southeastern Minnesota will be posted online as well as the factors advisory team members cited when making recommendations. People should review this supporting information before submitting comments, which can be made online atwww.mndnr.gov/deer or mailed to Leslie McInenly, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.

The DNR will evaluate advisory team recommendations and public comments on those recommendations before determining the final deer population goal for each hunting area. Once goals are established, the DNR will announce those goals and wildlife managers will implement harvest strategies to meet and maintain them.

More information on the process is available on the DNR’s deer management Web page at www.mndnr.gov/deer.




DNR, MDHA announce deer hunting listening session dates

Deer hunters are invited to attend one of a series of listening sessions jointly hosted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA).

“We’ve been hearing that deer numbers are too low and this year’s severe winter is exacerbating those concerns in many regions of the state,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “These listening sessions will give deer hunters and the general public an opportunity to communicate directly with DNR staff who make deer management decisions.”

“Deer populations and health are important to MDHA members and all deer hunters,” said Mark Johnson, MDHA executive director. “We’re pleased to be able to offer these meetings so people regardless of their affiliation or interest can express their opinions on deer populations.”

All listening sessions will be from 7-9 p.m. Meetings are scheduled in:

  • Brainerd - Wednesday, March 19, Central Lakes Community College, 501 West College Drive.
  • Cambridge - Thursday, March 20, Anoka Ramsey Community College, 300 Spirit River Drive South, rooms G201 and G202.
  • Bemidji - Monday, March 24, Bemidji High School, 2900 Division St. West, Lumberjack Room.
  • Morris - Tuesday, March 25, University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center, 46352 Minnesota Highway 329, Ag Country Auditorium.
  • Nicollet - Thursday, March 2, Nicollet Conservation Club, 46045 471st Lane.
  • Virginia - Tuesday, April 1, Mesabi Range College, 1001 Chestnut St. West, auditorium.

Online comments also will be accepted beginning Wednesday, March 19, at www.mndnr.gov/deer.




DNR to hold public meetings on southeastern deer population goals

Deer populations and how to manage them in portions of southeastern Minnesota will be the topic of two Department of Natural Resources public meetings scheduled in February.

Population goals will be set for all 300-series permit areas with the exception of 338 and 339, which are just south and west of the Twin Cities metro area. 

“This first step in the DNR’s goal-setting process is designed so citizens can express their views on deer numbers and issues associated with deer management,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “Whether your interests in deer management include hunting, wildlife viewing, natural resource management, deer damage or local business and economic impacts, it’s important that all viewpoints and factors be considered during the goal-setting process.”

The meetings are scheduled from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Lake City Lincoln High School, 300 S. Garden St., and from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, at the St. Charles Elementary School auditorium, 925 Church Ave.

Beginning Monday, Feb. 10, people may visit www.mndnr.gov/deer for more information and background on the goal-setting process. They also may provide input on the goal-setting process and deer management by completing an online questionnaire.

Written comments also can be mailed to: Leslie McInenly, DNR, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, Saint Paul, MN 55155.

Similar to past deer goal-setting processes, a citizen advisory team will be convened to provide direction on deer permit area population goals. Members of the advisory team –  selected from a previous call to the public for nominations – will be announced later this month.

Prior to the first advisory team meeting, DNR staff will assemble comments from the upcoming public meetings, online questionnaire and mail. The advisory team will review the public comments as well as information on regional deer populations and management before making its recommendations. There will be additional opportunity for the public to comment on the advisory team’s recommendations before the DNR sets final deer population goals.




DNR to fly deer and elk surveys

Pending suitable snow cover, the Department of Natural Resources plans to fly white-tailed deer population surveys from December through March in central and southeastern Minnesota.

“In the transition zone between agricultural and forested lands, which generally stretches from the northwest to southeast across Minnesota, we use aerial surveys to recalibrate the deer population model,” said Gino D’Angelo, DNR farmland deer project leader. “These survey flights help us make decisions on deer permit area designations that achieve our population goals.”

DNR pilots will fly low-level helicopter surveys in 18 deer permit areas during daylight hours at an altitude of approximately 200 feet.

Areas targeted to be flown include:

  • Deer permit areas 214, 215, 218, 219, 221, 222, 223, 229, 239 and 241 in Becker, Benton, Clay, Hubbard, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Wilkin and Wright counties.
  • Deer permit areas 341-343 and 345-349 in Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties.

Aerial elk surveys using both an airplane and helicopter are also planned for the Kittson County and Grygla elk ranges in northwestern Minnesota. The flights are conducted annually during winter.

Questions about survey flights should be directed to the DNR’s farmland wildlife research office in Madelia, 507-642-8478, the northwest regional wildlife office in Bemidji, 218-308-2651 or the Rochester area wildlife office, 507-206-2859.




DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Preliminary 2013 firearms deer harvest numbers released

Minnesota hunters harvested 164,550 deer during the 2013 firearms season, according to preliminary numbers announced by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Excluding the late season in southeastern Minnesota, hunters harvested 144,000 deer, a 6 percent drop from the 153,000 harvested in 2012. Preliminary numbers for the late season in southeastern Minnesota show hunters harvested 4,400 deer, down from the 5,000 harvested in 2012.

The statewide muzzleloader season remains open through Sunday, Dec. 15. The archery season closes on Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Deer harvest numbers are calculated using data provided by hunters when they register a deer.  A final report, which includes more detailed harvest information, will be released at the end of January.




Firearms deer harvest down 6 percent from 2012

Minnesota hunters harvested 128,814 deer through the second weekend of the 2013 firearms season, according to preliminary numbers announced Nov. 20 by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The season ended Sunday, Nov. 17, for all but 100-series permit areas in the northeastern part of the state, where the season concludes on Sunday, Nov. 24. A late 3B firearm season in southeastern Minnesota begins Saturday, Nov. 23, and concludes Sunday, Dec. 1. 

Firearm harvest to date is down 6 percent from last year at this time. Overall, antlered buck harvest is down 7 percent and antlerless harvest is down 5 percent. 

“Based on our population estimates, the decrease in buck harvest was not anticipated and may reflect hunting conditions more than population,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “Based on the preliminary numbers, our opening and second weekend harvests from Saturday to Monday were down 4 and 13 percent, respectively, and we experienced windy conditions the first weekend and both wind and rain the second weekend.” 

Weekend harvests, particularly opening weekend, drive the total harvest numbers. McInenly stressed that these numbers are preliminary.

Much of the change in statewide antlerless harvest can be attributed to decreased harvest in the northeastern portion of the state, where antlerless harvest is currently down 25 percent.

Much of northern Minnesota experienced an extended, moderate-to-severe 2012-2013 winter, likely impacting overwinter survival and fawn numbers this summer. In response, the DNR reduced bag limits and the number of either-sex permits available in many northern permit areas. Also, antlerless harvest continues to be reduced around the former bovine tuberculosis management zone in far northwestern Minnesota to allow the deer population in that area to rebuild.

Ample hunting opportunities remain. In addition to the continuing firearms season in northeastern Minnesota and the late firearms season in southeastern Minnesota, the statewide muzzleloader season runs from Saturday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Dec. 15. The archery season closes on Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Hunters are reminded that deer must be registered online, via telephone or through an in-person visit to a big game registration station within 48 hours of harvest.

For more information on the firearms deer season, visit www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.




Firearms deer harvest down 8 percent from 2012

Minnesota hunters harvested 77,008 deer during the first three days of the firearms season, down 8 percent from 2012, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader, said a slightly smaller harvest over the first three days is not surprising.

“Last year, opening weekend weather was almost ideal and the state’s corn harvest was virtually complete, she said. “So given Saturday’s roaring winds of up to 30 miles per hour, which tends to restrict deer movement, and more available deer refuge areas due to pockets of standing corn, the harvest is about what you’d expect.” In some areas, she said, about a quarter of the corn crop was not yet harvested.

The DNR had sold 445,385 firearms deer licenses as of Monday, about 1,000 fewer than last year but roughly 10,000 more than 2011. 

Around the state, opening day hunting conditions included snow in the north and gusty winds and overcast skies most everywhere, turning nicer on Sunday. The harvest was down 19 percent in the northeast, 4 percent in the southeast and 6 percent for the remainder of the state. Because hunters have 48 hours to register a harvested deer, final opening weekend numbers for 2013 will be greater than those reported today.  

With improving weather conditions this week, the DNR still expects the final 2013 harvest to be similar to last year when about 185,000 deer were taken.

The firearms season continues through Sunday for all but northeast Minnesota, which extends until Nov. 24. There is also a late southeast firearms season that runs Nov. 23-Dec. 1.

The DNR reminds hunters who harvest a deer to tag it at the kill site. Also, new this year, hunters are required to register their deer within 48 hours after harvest and before processing.

Hunters can report violations 24/7 by calling the Turn In Poachers hotline at 800-652-9093.




 DNR revisiting deer population goals; offers online sign up


People interested in providing input as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) begins its efforts to set deer population goals for southeastern Minnesota can sign up for regular information updates at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

From 2005-07, the DNR used an extensive public input process to establish deer population goals for all of the state’s deer permit areas. Beginning in 2012, the DNR initiated a public process to re-evaluate population goals. So far, new goals have been established for 23 deer permit areas. 

“In some places, population goals were established nearly ten years ago,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “It is appropriate at this point to evaluate our progress, review new information and check in with citizens to decide whether adjustments should be made.”

McInenly said the DNR will focus on permit areas in southeastern Minnesota during 2014 to test out additional communication tools and input opportunities. Deer permit areas to be evaluated include areas 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349. The DNR hopes to complete goal setting for the rest of the state by 2017. 

Similar to past deer goal setting processes, a citizen advisory team will be convened to develop permit area recommendations.  In addition to recent hunter and landowner surveys conducted in the southeast, members of the public will be asked for input through online and in-person comments prior to the advisory team meetings.

A timeline, with opportunities for public input, is available on the deer management page at www.mndnr.gov/deer. Nominations for advisory team members will be collected through Dec. 31.  Public input will be collected online and through meetings during January and February.

“Our public participation process has been designed to include input from anyone who has an interest in deer management,” McInenly said. “Citizen-team members will also be selected to represent the range of public interests, including hunting, wildlife viewing, natural resource management and local business interests.”

McInenly encouraged stakeholders to start thinking about deer management and factors that should be considered during the upcoming process. 

Minnesota’s deer population has swung significantly during the past 50 years. In 1971, for example, the state closed the deer hunting season because the population was too low. The DNR rebuilt the deer herd through tighter hunting regulations during the following decades. The deer harvest peaked at 290,000 in 2003 as the agency began to reduce deer numbers. Last year’s harvest was about 185,000, down 4 percent from the previous year and 22,000 fewer than the 2010 harvest.

Deer managers set deer density goals based on the broad range of public interest in deer. Deer are capable of achieving high densities so generally are managed at a level of social tolerance rather than managed for the maximum number that habitat can support. This approach involves balancing desires of hunters, wildlife watchers and others who may support higher deer densities with those of farmers, foresters or others who experience conflicts with deer who may favor lower deer densities.

White-tailed deer are an important resource to the state of Minnesota. Nearly 500,000 individuals hunt deer and countless other people enjoy viewing deer in the state.

McInenly said anyone interested in learning more about deer management and public input opportunities can sign up atwww.mndnr.gov/deer to receive deer announcements and information via email.




 IN THIS ISSUE

DNR anticipates good deer hunting season 
Harvested deer can be donated for distribution to food shelves
DNR license center extends hours for deer opener
Minnesota deer facts
Baudette man faces numerous charges, fines, and restitution
Cold water is a dangerous to late season boaters



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


DNR anticipates good deer hunting season 

Deer hunting should be good when Minnesota’s firearms hunting season opens Saturday, Nov. 9.

That’s the word from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), whose biologists report deer populations are stable across much of the state.

“Minnesota’s deer population is largely stable in the southern half of the state because of mild winters and generally conservative deer management,” said Leslie McInenly, the DNR’s big game program leader. “Mild winters result in more survival of adults, more fawns being born, and more deer in the state’s fields and forests the following hunting season.”

Winter, which is a significant source of mortality in Minnesota deer, ranged from moderate to severe in northern Minnesota. As a result, permit area designations across most of northern Minnesota are either lottery or hunter choice.

Hunters may find farmland conditions more challenging due to this year’s later corn harvest, which results in a substantial amount of standing corn.

Last year, Minnesota’s nearly 500,000 deer hunters harvested 186,000 deer. A similar harvest is expected this year.

McInenly said deer permit management designations that limit hunters to one, two or five deer largely are the same as last year. The limits reflect the department’s interest in rebuilding or maintaining the deer herd in certain portions of the state by managing the harvest.

Based on 2013 population estimates, almost 80 percent of permit areas are at population goal.  Antlerless and bonus deer permit availability decreases as overly abundant populations are brought into line with department goals.    
       
Minnesota’s deer harvest has varied widely over the past half century. In a historical context, too many deer were taken during the 1960s, forcing the closure of the deer season in 1971 and a rebuilding of the deer herd from the 1970s through the 1990s. The highest deer harvest occurred in 2003, when 290,000 deer were taken as part of an effort to reduce the deer herd. Today, the DNR manages the deer population based on goals established with public input.

“As the state’s deer population has been reduced to meet goals, more consistent and moderate harvests are anticipated,” McInenly said. “That said, population goals in some places were established nearly 10 years ago and the DNR is initiating a public process to revisit goals for permit areas statewide during the next few years.”

The DNR will be working with hunters and other stakeholders this winter to evaluate deer population goals for southeastern Minnesota. 

The firearms deer season concludes Sunday, Nov. 24, in Series 100 permit areas, which cover much of northeastern Minnesota. In Series 300 permit areas, which cover the southeastern corner of the state, the first season ends Sunday, Nov.17, but a late season opens Saturday, Nov. 23, and concludes Sunday, Dec. 1. Firearms season ends Sunday, Nov. 17, in Series 200 permit areas, which cover the remainder of the state.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            Nov. 4, 2013 

Harvested deer can be donated for distribution to food shelves

Deer donated to food shelves can be processed at no cost to hunters thanks to a program coordinated by the Minnesota departments of natural resources and agriculture. Prior to 2007, hunters could donate deer to food shelves but had to pay processing costs.

“The venison donation program has multiple benefits,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “In portions of the state, hunters are encouraged to harvest multiple deer, the program provides hunters an avenue to donate the extra deer they harvest without having to pay processing costs. Demand for food assistance also has been increasing in recent years across Minnesota, and this is a great opportunity to provide locally-sourced meat to families in need.”

More details on the venison donation program, as well as a list of participating meat processors, are available online atwww.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer/donation. Processors who accept deer are paid $70 to process each animal for food shelf distribution.

Funding for the program comes from surcharges placed on antlerless permits and non-resident hunting licenses.
  
To donate a deer, hunters will need to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Only whole carcasses with the hide on can be donated because processors will not accept cut and wrapped meat or portions of carcasses.
  • Information such as permit area of harvest and the DNR number will be collected for tracking purposes.
  • Processors can only accept carcasses for donation that are free from signs of illness, free of visible decomposition or contamination and properly identified with a Minnesota DNR registration tag.
  • Processors will reject deer for the donation program that appear to have been mishandled in any way.

Hunters are strongly advised to contact the processor prior to donating the deer. A list of processors who accept deer for the program is available online at http://go.usa.gov/WDk3.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        Nov. 4, 2013

DNR license center extends hours for deer opener

The Information Center and License Center at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) headquarters in St. Paul will work extended hours on opening weekend to handle additional phone calls from deer hunters.

Phone lines will be open on Friday, Nov. 8, until 6:30 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 9, from 8 a.m. to noon. DNR headquarters is located at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. The 2013 Minnesota firearms deer season begins Saturday, Nov. 9.

Hunters planning to go out the first weekend are encouraged to buy deer licenses in person because phone and internet purchases require that site tags be mailed. Delivery of those tags can take three to five business days.

A list of DNR license agents by county is available online at www.mndnr.gov/licenses/agents.html#agents.

Deer hunters are strongly encouraged to read the regulations book, which is available every place licenses are sold or online atwww.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.

License questions should be directed to the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us651-296-6157 or toll-free888-646-6367.

                                                                         -30-

  


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           Nov. 4, 2013

Minnesota deer facts

Deer: the animal

  • Adult female white-tailed deer weigh about 145 lbs., males 170 lbs. – the average weight of female and male humans.
  • The biggest white-tailed deer ever recorded was a 500-pound Minnesota buck.
  • A whitetail’s home range is about one square mile.
  • Minnesota’s deer population is about 1 million deer. Texas is No. 1 with 3.5 million deer.

Deer: hunting 

  • Last year, 31 percent of Minnesota firearm hunters successfully harvested a deer. About 52 percent were antlered bucks.
  • 70 percent of Minnesota’s firearms deer harvest typically occurs during the first three or four days of the season.
  • The average hunter spends five days afield during Minnesota’s firearms deer season.
  • Last year’s total deer harvest was 186,000.
  • License options allow hunters to buy individual licenses for all the seasons and give hunters choices in where and when they can hunt deer.
  • Hunters can take two-to-five deer in many parts of the state where populations allow. 
  • Minnesota has averaged deer harvested 200,500 deer during the last five years. The Midwestern state with the largest deer harvest is Michigan at 425,000.
  • The largest typical whitetail buck ever taken in Minnesota had a Boone & Crockett score of 202; shot by John Breen in 1918 near Funkley, Minn.
  • Minnesota’s No. 1 non-typical whitetail buck had 43 points and a Boone & Crockett score of 268 5/8; shot by 17-year-old Mitch Vakoch in 1974. 

Deer: licenses

  • More than 725,000 deer hunting licenses and permits (all types) were sold in 2012.
  • 98 percent of deer licenses are sold to Minnesota residents.
  • The DNR Information Center remained open two hours later on the day before last year’s deer opener to answer more than 2,000 telephone inquiries, most of them related to the firearms opener.

Deer: economics

  • Nearly 500,000 deer hunters in Minnesota.
  • Direct retail sales - $234 million.
  • Salaries, wages, business owner income - $127 million.
  • State and local tax revenue - $28 million.
  • Number of directly supported jobs – 3,760.
  • Economic impact is greatest in Greater Minnesota.



No surplus either-sex deer permits available for 2013

For the first time since surplus permits were offered in 2007, no leftover either-sex deer permits are available for purchase after the lottery deadline, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

The DNR offered 38,850 either-sex permits in 58 deer permit areas this year. Every permit area received applications for at least 100 percent of the permits available.

In lottery deer areas, firearm and muzzleloader license holders who intend to take an antlerless deer must have an either-sex permit; otherwise, they are restricted to hunting bucks. The total bag limit for deer in lottery areas is one deer per year.

Availability of leftover permits has declined since the development of the hunter choice management designation, which was first used in 2011. Similar to lottery areas, hunter choice-designated areas have a bag limit of one deer; however, no limit is placed on the number of available either-sex permits and lottery applications are not required.




Early antlerless deer hunting open in 3 southeast Minnesota areas

Three small areas of Winona and Houston counties that have high deer densities will be open to an early antlerless deer hunt Thursday, Oct. 17 through Sunday, Oct. 20, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

Two portions of deer permit area 346 will be open as well as one portion of permit area 345. Hunt areas are detailed online atwww.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer and on the large, fold-out deer map included in the 2013 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

“While the overall deer permit areas are at or near established population goals, there continue to be localized areas where deer densities need to be reduced to desired levels,” said Leslie McInenly, the DNR’s big game program  leader. “This year’s more limited early antlerless season will be evaluated as an additional management tool to reduce deer densities on a local level.”

Only antlerless deer may be taken, and hunters may use up to five early antlerless permits.  Deer harvested during the special season do not contribute a hunter’s statewide limit during the regular season. Early antlerless permits cost $7.50 for residents and may be purchased wherever hunting licenses are sold.

All deer harvested during this season must be tagged with an early antlerless permit. Hunters must also have a valid archery, firearms or muzzleloader license and harvest a deer using the method for which they are licensed.

The antlerless hunt coincides with the four-day special youth deer season.  




 CWD surveillance, deer feeding ban continues in southeastern Minnesota


Mandatory testing for chronic wasting disease (CWD) and a related ban on deer feeding continues in southeastern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Sampling of deer harvested in permit area 602 will begin again when the archery deer season opens Saturday, Sept. 14. Hunters are required to register their deer in person and may not remove the carcass from the area until a negative test result is reported. Phone and Internet registration options are not allowed for deer harvested in this area.

The following registration stations will be open during archery season:

  • Neptune Bar and Grill, 468 Highway 60, Zumbro Falls.
  • Greenway Cooperative, Pine Island.
  • Archery Headquarters, 3440 Northern Valley Place, Rochester.
  • Gander Mountain, 3470 55th St. NW, Rochester.
  • Kasson Hardware Hank, 11 4th St. SE, Kasson.

Due to the low numbers of deer that are taken, DNR staff will not be staffing these stations during either the archery or muzzleloader seasons. Instead, hunters will be required to submit the head of adult deer for sampling. A box will be located at each site with specific instructions regarding how to submit the sample. Hunters are encouraged to plan ahead and have a place to store their deer until test results are available if they plan to transport it outside of the 602 area. Deer cannot be transported out of the area without a negative test result. 

Samples will be submitted every Monday and Thursday during the archery season and results will be reported back within three business days. Test results can be checked online at www.mndnr.gov/cwd.

Deer feeding prohibited
In addition to continued CWD surveillance, a deer feeding ban remains in place for Dodge, Goodhue, Olmsted and Wabasha counties.

“The prohibition on feeding has been in place to reduce artificial concentrations of deer,” said Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program supervisor. “Animals congregating around a food source, even a bird feeder if accessible, increase the odds of spreading an infectious disease like CWD.”

The current feeding ban, which includes attractants such as salt and mineral blocks, is effective through February 2014.  

DNR has been actively on the lookout for CWD since 2002, when the disease was first detected in captive animals. Surveillance efforts increased in southeastern Minnesota during fall 2009 after a captive elk farm near Pine Island was infected with CWD.

During fall 2010, a hunter-harvested deer was found positive for CWD, the first occurrence of CWD in wild deer in the state. As a result, a CWD surveillance zone (permit area 602) was created to help DNR manage the outbreak of the disease in wild deer.

Intensive surveillance efforts in 2011 and 2012 have failed to find any additional positive cases. The DNR CWD response plan requires 3 years of testing without a positive result before an area has its disease management status designation removed. If no positive results are found this year, the zone’s disease management status may change.  

Detailed information regarding CWD management, registration, sample submission and carcass requirements can be found on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/cwd. Hunters are encouraged to monitor this site as new information is added as it becomes available.




Deadline is Sept. 5 for firearm, muzzleloader deer lottery applications

Deer hunters who use a firearm or muzzleloader in a lottery area and want to harvest an antlerless deer must apply for an either-sex permit by the Thursday, Sept. 5, deadline established by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

Deadlines for firearm and muzzleloader special hunts also are Sept. 5.

Lottery either-sex permits
Hunters can apply for lottery deer areas using both their firearm and muzzleloader licenses.  Although a hunter can be selected for both licenses, successful applicants still can only take one deer.

2013 lottery deer areas are 101, 103, 105, 108, 110, 111, 118, 119, 122, 169, 171, 172, 176, 183, 184, 197, 199, 234, 237, 238, 250, 251, 252, 253, 260, 261, 262, 263, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298 and 299.

In lottery deer areas, firearms and muzzleloader hunters may only harvest a buck if they apply for and receive an either-sex permit, which allows them to harvest an antlerless deer.  

Firearm and muzzleloader special hunts
For special hunts, a person may draw both a firearm and muzzleloader permit, in which case they must adhere to the bag limits established by each special hunt. Information on 2013 special hunts is available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.

All lottery winners will receive permits via U.S. mail. Hunters may apply for an either-sex permit through any DNR license agent, online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense, or by calling toll-free 888-665-4236.

Changes to deer application and registration for 2013
Hunters are advised by the DNR to review the DNR’s hunting regulations handbook for new 2013 season information.
  
“Regulations, and many of our management designations, are quite similar to 2012,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “However, there are a few application and registration changes that folks will notice right away.” 

This year the DNR will be asking all deer license buyers, including archery hunters, to indicate the deer area they hunt most often.

“While hunters are not obligated to stay in the indicated area, the information helps the DNR assess hunter success,” McInenly said. “Our data indicate that most hunters kill a deer in the area they hunt most often.”
 
Hunters also should be aware that deer must be registered within 48 hours after harvest and before processing. Telephone and internet registration has been expanded to include series 300 permit areas.  


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