MN DNR Tightens Deer Seasons
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has drastically changed the whitetail deer permit areas for the 2014 season. “In 95 percent of the state only one deer can be harvested” as stated on the MN DNR website. This will come as a severe shock to most hunters when in previous years they could harvest anywhere from one to five deer before the use of party hunting. This new path of deer management throughout the state is applicable to all forms of whitetail hunting whether it is archery, shotgun, rifle, handgun, muzzleloader, or any combination of hunting seasons individuals wish to participate in. Moreover, certain special hunts for youth or individuals with disability permits are not exempt to these new regulations.
With the new restricted hunting regulations in regards to the amount of whitetails that can be harvested and the mainly bucks-only permit areas, it’s important to know what is classified as a buck.
I believe most people if looking at a whitetail could easily tell me what is a doe and what is not, but how you tag deer according to the MN DNR is different. The MN DNR defines a buck as a whitetail with at least one antler longer than 3 inches long. When people harvest button bucks, spikes, or fawns they must be tagged as a doe when their antlers are less than 3 inches. This is important to note when most of the state is now bucks only. Even more strict stipulations have been set for all 300 series deer areas. This is best outlined in the picture put out by the MN DNR.
Aside from less deer being harvested, which is the DNR’s main objective, what other ramifications could we see from this upcoming hunting season? Hopefully we should see a rebound in the recently declining deer population. We could also see a drop in license purchases though. Leslie McInenly, a Big Game Program Leader for the DNR, had this to say:
“Many hunters voiced concerns about current deer densities and their hunting experiences in recent years. We heard from hunters at the listening sessions we conducted, in the online comments we solicited and by contacting us directly. This past winter only added to those concerns so this year’s conservative approach will protect more antlerless deer, reduce the statewide harvest and allow the population to rebound.”
I believe we will see an obvious decline in the deer harvest due to the new regulations, but also due to people hunting less seasons between archery, firearms, and muzzleloader. With the need to only fill one tag versus multiple as in previous years, hunters will invest less time and seasons to harvest their one deer. With that being said, a given individual may only buy a firearm license as opposed to an archery license in combination. This hunter may only allot time for the opening weekend of firearm season, and could be unsuccessful in those select days in harvesting his/her deer. This person now in 2014 has spent less money in their hunting efforts and is less successful. When people have more tags to fill they will generally spend more money, time, and seasons afield trying to fill those tags. This year we could definitely see a decline in all those aspects as well as the actual deer harvest. It is important to realize that the MN DNR is trying to look at the big picture for the entire state though; that’s what deer management is all about! Hopefully through these more conservative permit areas we will see an overall increase in the MN deer population bringing about better years to come.
For the full press release about this upcoming whitetail deer hunting season, visit the MN DNR link here: http://news.dnr.state.mn.us/2014/07/23/conservative-deer-season-set-hunting-licenses-go-on-sale-aug-1/#more-14985
For further information regarding the details of the upcoming whitetail deer hunting season as well as any other inquiries, please contact the MN DNR via phone (651) 296-6157, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or through their website of http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/index.html
Some permit areas of Northern MN have been modified and there has NOT been a public statement released by the DNR regarding the changes. Some of these alterations to the permit areas have been completed through individual mailings to landowners and/or door-to-door talks so be sure to consult your local DNR conservation officer if you have any questions at all.