Antler-point restrictions and party hunting for bucks in southeastern Minnesota -- controversial special regulations launched just last fall -- would be lifted under a bill approved Tuesday by a key Minnesota House committee.
The bill also would allow anglers to use two fishing lines year-round -- a move the Department of Natural Resources says could force it to lower the statewide walleye limit. But anglers couldn't troll with two lines, under a change in the bill's language.
The same bill, passed by the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee, would remove the 16-foot height restriction for deer stands, reduce the number of Minnesota lakes with special fishing regulations intended to boost the size of northerns, and lift a northern spearing ban on Cass Lake.
The bill, expected to go to the House floor, also would allow the DNR to open the duck season earlier. Current state law prohibits the season from opening before the Saturday closest to Oct. 1, while federal law allows the season to open the Saturday nearest Sept. 24.
But the most controversial provision was the southeast deer hunting changes. Bucks there must have at least one four- point antler to be legal. The idea is to boost the number of mature bucks.
The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and the Minnesota Farmers Union testified in support of the bill; members of the Bluffland Whitetails Association and Quality Deer Management Association opposed it.
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