July 30, 2018 11:56 PM
Minnesota deer hunters will have expanded opportunities this fall.
There will be more deer permit areas where hunters can use bonus permits to take more than one deer. There will also be fewer areas where hunters need to apply in a lottery to shoot an antlerless deer.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said deer numbers have rebounded, crediting a mild winter and lower harvest levels in recent years.
"Deer populations have responded well to favorable winter weather and our generally conservative harvest levels in recent years," said Erik Thorson, the acting big-game program leader for the DNR.
"So we have been able to expand hunting opportunities once again in much of the state in order to reduce populations or stabilize growth."
Hunters can buy deer licenses and apply to the lottery for antlerless deer permits beginning Wednesday. The deadline to apply for the antlerless permit lottery is Sept. 6. Archery deer season opens Sept. 15, and firearms deer season opens Nov. 3.
Hunters who purchase a license by Sept. 6 are automatically entered into the lottery for an antlerless permit. Those who do not wish to harvest an antlerless deer are encouraged to purchase their license after the lottery deadline.
"Over the past few years we've been fairly conservative, trying to rebuild populations" said Leslie McInenly, the DNR's acting wildlife populations and programs manager.
"And we're getting to a point where we've met our goals, or exceeded those goals. And now there's an opportunity to increase the antlerless harvest."
Mandatory testing for chronic wasting disease will continue this year: in the disease management zone (deer permit area 603) during all deer seasons; in most permit areas in Southeastern Minnesota during the first two days of both the A (Nov. 3 and 4) and 3B (Nov. 17 and 18) firearm seasons; and in several deer permit areas in Crow Wing and Meeker county areas in North Central and Central Minnesota during the first two days of the A firearms season.
No positive deer were found during the 2017 deer season and wild deer in these areas are not known to have CWD. But because disease symptoms are slow to develop, the DNR conducts sampling for three consecutive years.
Hunters who harvest deer outside the state are reminded they cannot bring whole carcasses of any member of the deer family back into Minnesota. These animals include, but are not limited to white-tailed deer, mule deer, black-tailed deer, elk, caribou and moose.
"Hunters are particularly encouraged to explore the interactive deer permit mapping tool," Thorson said.
"It provides permit area boundary details, as well as access to Detail Reports that contain deer management history and hunting land information for individual deer permit areas."
Regularly updated deer information, including the DNR's deer permit mapping tool, can also be found online.
Updated: July 30, 2018 11:56 PM
Created: July 30, 2018 04:11 PM
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