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Continued: To boost deer herd, Minnesota hunters will face new rules this fall

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 24, 2014 - 12:28 AM

“We had significant deer mortality across much of northeast Minnesota [last winter],” Merchant said. “If we have another winter like that, we will see the same thing. We need Mother Nature to give us a break.”

Last year, hunters killed about 173,000 deer, the fewest since 1998. With the restrictions, Merchant predicted a harvest range this fall of between 150,000 and 120,000 — as much as a 30 percent drop from last year.

The last time the Minnesota deer harvest was below 150,000 was 1997, when hunters killed 143,000 animals. The state’s record deer kill was 290,000 in 2003.

In 69 of the state’s 128 deer areas where limited numbers of antlerless whitetails can be killed, hunters will have to apply for antlerless permits this fall issued by lottery. Unsuccessful applicants will be limited to shooting bucks.

Hunters in 38 areas, including large portions of the north central and southeast, will have the choice of shooting either an antlerless deer or a buck.

In the Twin Cities metro zone, where the deer population still is considered too high, hunters can purchase an unlimited number of antlerless deer permits.

Meanwhile, Jankofsky, the Chisholm hunter, said his group wouldn’t skip a deer season, even if prospects for bagging a whitetail are low.

“Everybody still will come and we’ll have a good time, eating good food and sharing stories,” he said. “It’s a tradition.”

The regular firearms season opens Nov. 8. Hunters can enter the lottery for antlerless permits from Aug. 1 through Sept. 4. Because of the significant changes this fall, officials urge hunters to review the new regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes. See www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer for more information.

 

Doug Smith • 612-673-7667

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