Hunters May See Fewer Deer in Northern MN During Firearms Opener
The Minnesota firearms deer hunting opener is now just a couple of days away, and state wildlife officials say hunters should see plenty of deer this year. Although, the parts of the state where the winter was harsher last year might see fewer numbers.
“Overall, deer populations are faring pretty well throughout most of the state. In northern Minnesota, our deer populations did face [a] second consecutive severe winter, and so hunters may see lower deer numbers in northern Minnesota,” said Barb Keller, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Big Game Program Leader. “In response to that, we have lower bag limits, or continue to maintain low bag limits in this part of the state, whereas in central and southern Minnesota, bag limits and hunting opportunities are very similar to what they were last year.”
In areas of the state where chronic wasting disease has been found in wild deer, there will be mandatory testing of deer during the opening weekend. That includes deer permit areas 604, 679, and 684 in and around Brainerd, Grand Rapids, and Bemidji.
“Hunters this year should make a plan before their upcoming deer hunt. They should know if there’s any [CWD] testing requirements for your DPA, and if so, where to get your deer tested,” said DNR Wildlife Health Supervisor Erik Hildebrand. “If there’s any carcass move[ment] restrictions, know what the rules and regulations are for that. Also, if there’s any feeding and attractant bans in place for your county, know which count[ies] have those bans in place.”
If you are hunting in a mandatory testing zone, testing must be completed with 24 hours of harvest unless a hunter uses a mail-in kit. If using a mail-in kit, it must be obtained prior to Saturday, Nov. 4 and the resulting sample postmarked within 72 hours of harvest.
More information on the firearms deer hunting opener can be found on the DNR website.