More deer hunters now support the antler-point restrictions imposed in southeastern Minnesota by the Department of Natural Resources three years ago.
Preliminary results from a random survey of southeast hunters last fall show 61 percent want the experimental regulations to continue. In 2009, about 50 percent supported the idea of a four-point minimum for one antler.
“We see pretty strong support for continuing the antler-point restrictions,’’ said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager.
However, the Legislature last year passed a law preventing the DNR from continuing the southeast restrictions. The Legislature must change the law this session if the restrictions are to continue next fall.
Cornicelli said the DNR isn’t making any recommendations to legislators just yet. It is still collecting results from the 4,000 random surveys sent to southeast hunters. And the agency is holding two public input meetings next week to solicit comments. Hunters also will be able to go to the DNR’s website next week to complete a questionnaire on the issue, Cornicelli said.
After receiving the input, Cornicelli said the DNR should have a recommendation to the Legislature by the end of March.
The two public meetings both are from 7 to 9 p.m. The first is Monday at the Cannon Falls High School auditorium. The second is Wednesday at Winona Southeast Technical College in Winona.
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The Department of Natural Resources will have field testing stations in Kandiyohi, Meeker, Morrison, Pope, Stearns, Swift and Todd counties.
Results mirror results in Minnesota, South Dakota.
Previously, the DNR said it would wait until an annual fall walleye survey was complete on Mille Lacs before determing whether winter walleye fishing could begin Dec. 1.
Deadline to apply is Sept. 24