Deer Hunters Will Have More Opportunities In Fall
Additional deer hunting opportunities will be available this fall because numbers continue to rebound across the state and now many areas have populations at or above goal levels, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“Deer populations have responded well to favorable winter weather and our generally conservative harvest levels in recent years,” said Erik Thorson, 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.”
This year, there are more deer permit areas where hunters can use bonus permits to harvest more than one deer, and fewer areas where hunters need to apply in a lottery to shoot an antlerless deer.
Mandatory testing for chronic wasting disease (CWD) continues 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.
Hunters can buy deer licenses and apply to the lottery for antlerless deer permits beginning tomorrow. The deadline to apply for the antlerless permit lottery is Thursday, Sept. 6. Archery deer season opens Saturday, Sept. 15, and firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 3.
“As part of our new statewide White-tailed Deer Management Plan, we are scheduling local meetings across the state for citizens, including hunters, to come and discuss deer hunting regulations and management with area DNR wildlife managers,” Thorson said.
The regulations for each of Minnesota’s deer permit areas are set to manage populations toward goals established for each area. These goals are based on information from the DNR and local citizens through a periodic public goal-setting process.
In just one of the state’s 130 permit areas, only bucks can be hunted. In 39 areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to harvest an antlerless deer (down from 48 areas last year). In 36 areas, hunters have the choice of harvesting a doe or a buck (down from 38 areas last year). Bonus permits allowing hunters to harvest more than one deer may be used in 54 permit areas (up from 43 areas last year) and for most special hunts. Four permit areas in southeastern Minnesota will also be open again for an early antlerless-only hunt in October.