Doug Smith

Even if the fish aren’t biting, the ducks aren’t flying and the pheasants aren’t flushing, Doug Smith says any day spent outdoors is a good day. A Minnesota native, he’s been covering the outdoors for the Star Tribune since 1995. He considers walleyes fried over a campfire to be gourmet cuisine.

Public meetings will solicit comments on southeastern deer population

Posted by: Doug Smith Updated: February 7, 2014 - 10:54 AM

The DNR will hold public meetings in February to solicit public comments on southeastern Minnesota deer population goals.

The meetings are 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at Lake City Lincoln High School, and 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the St. Charles Elementary School auditorium.

The meetings are part of the DNR's reexamination of its deer density goals throughout the state. The DNR began reexamining deer density goals in 2012, and new goals have been established in 23 deer permit areas. This winter, the DNR is reexamining permit areas in much of southeastern Minnesota, and will soon select a stakeholder group from about 100 nominees.

Similar groups will be formed in other areas of the state, so deer densities statewide should be revised by the fall of 2016, officials say.

All of this comes at a time when some hunters are questioning the deer densities established by the DNR from 2005-2007, saying deer populations are too low in many areas. Last season produced the lowest deer harvest in 15 years — and a 17 percent decline since 2010.

Here's the DNR news release on the southeastern meetings:

DNR to hold public meetings on southeastern deer population goals

Deer populations and how to manage them in portions of southeastern Minnesota will be the topic of two Department of Natural Resources public meetings scheduled in February.

Population goals will be set for all 300-series permit areas with the exception of 338 and 339, which are just south and west of the Twin Cities metro area. 

“This first step in the DNR’s goal-setting process is designed so citizens can express their views on deer numbers and issues associated with deer management,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “Whether your interests in deer management include hunting, wildlife viewing, natural resource management, deer damage or local business and economic impacts, it’s important that all viewpoints and factors be considered during the goal-setting process.”

The meetings are scheduled from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Lake City Lincoln High School, 300 S. Garden St., and from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, at the St. Charles Elementary School auditorium, 925 Church Ave.

Beginning Monday, Feb. 10, people may visit www.mndnr.gov/deer for more information and background on the goal-setting process. They also may provide input on the goal-setting process and deer management by completing an online questionnaire.

Written comments also can be mailed to: Leslie McInenly, DNR, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, Saint Paul, MN 55155.

Similar to past deer goal-setting processes, a citizen advisory team will be convened to provide direction on deer permit area population goals. Members of the advisory team –  selected from a previous call to the public for nominations – will be announced later this month.

Prior to the first advisory team meeting, DNR staff will assemble comments from the upcoming public meetings, online questionnaire and mail. The advisory team will review the public comments as well as information on regional deer populations and management before making its recommendations. There will be additional opportunity for the public to comment on the advisory team’s recommendations before the DNR sets final deer population goals.

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