2015 MN Deer Regulations
We’re looking at another deer season with intense restrictions for harvesting deer in order to build the population back up in Minnesota. The MN Department of Natural Resources is remaining optimistic that after a very mild winter (mild for Minnesotan standards) and a very restrictive 2014 season that hunters should be seeing more deer this year even if the harvest quotas are still set very low.
Some specific changes that the MN DNR wants hunters to keep an eye on that they posted on their website were as follows:
- Northern Minnesota hunters will again have a bucks-only season, but specific permit areas have changed. In bucks-only areas, no antlerless deer may be harvested by any hunter, including those with archery or youth licenses.
- Similarly, no antlerless deer may be harvested by any adult hunters in youth-only antlerless areas. However, as a result of 2015 legislation, new this year is an exception allowing either-sex harvest by any hunter age 84 and up or by hunters who are residents of veterans’ homes.
- Another change this year is the return of youth-only antlerless harvest for a few areas in southwestern Minnesota. The measure is designed to increase populations into goal range in areas where antlerless harvest under the lottery system hasn’t been restrictive enough to increase deer numbers. Similar to the bucks-only designation, no antlerless deer may be harvested by any adult hunters in youth-only antlerless areas.
- One important exception for antlerless harvest is that, as a result of 2015 legislation, any hunter age 84 and up or any hunter who is a resident of a veterans’ homes may harvest a deer of either-sex.
This is a snapshot of what our fall firearms season will look like based on the county you plan to be hunting in.
The deer regulations may not come as a surprise to most people after the restrictive year we all trudged through last year. If there is anyone in your hunting party who thinks that the deer population or harvest ain’t that bad, then take a look at these numbers. These are our deer harvest totals (archery, firearms & muzzleloader) for the last 5 years.
- 2010 – 207,313
- 2011 – 192,331
- 2012 – 186,634
- 2013 – 172,781
- 2014 – 139,442
I am still remaining an optimist myself and holding out that I (along with everyone else hopefully) will see a lot more deer this year. I’ve been doing my own not-very-scientific, observational study all summer long while making my 1 hour commute to The Guns and Gear Store at our Rogers, MN location. I can see anywhere from 10 – 30 deer every evening during my commute home. During the summer of 2014 I would see no deer along Interstate 94. No joke. None.
So I can at least speak for central MN that this year should be better than the last!
To see the MN deer hunting regulations in greater detail, visit the MN DNR’s webpage, or you should be seeing the MN DNR booklets popping up at most gas stations throughout the state soon.