State deer plan: Public meetings start April 16; see draft plan here

(Photo by Rob Drieslein)

Minnesota’s new deer plan is coming into focus, with online public comment open now through Wednesday, May 9. And, starting April 16, 35 public meetings are scheduled around the state so people can speak with wildlife managers, ask questions and provide input, the Minnesota DNR said in a news release late Monday morning, April 9.

According to the release, part of the plan outlines strategic ways the DNR will prioritize its resources and activities to meet the plan’s eight key goals, which range from keeping Minnesota deer healthy to ensuring biological and societal factors are considered in management decisions.

To see the entire draft plan, click here.

The plan establishes an annual statewide harvest target of 200,000 deer, the release said. Although only one of several performance measures outlined in the plan, the harvest target will help communicate how the DNR is meeting overall population goals through time.

According to the DNR, in general, annual harvests less than 200,000 will indicate a need for more conservative regulations to rebuild deer populations. Harvests greater than 200,000 will suggest hunting regulations need to be liberalized so more deer are harvested to reduce populations.

For more than a year, a 19-member citizen’s advisory group helped the DNR draft the deer plan, the release said, adding that the group’s members had knowledge of deer management, interests related to deer and familiarity with different areas of the state.

The public can comment on the proposed plan on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/deerplan.

A questionnaire asks people to indicate their level of satisfaction with the purpose, mission, vision and goals of the plan and provides opportunity for people to give additional feedback on whether the plan reflects the conversation and public input over the last few years.

According to the release, the DNR’s 35 open-house meetings in April will help people understand the deer plan. There will be no formal presentation at the meetings. Instead, local wildlife staff will provide handouts explaining the deer plan and process and talk with attendees individually and in small groups. All meetings are scheduled from 6-8 p.m. and those planning to attend can arrive anytime during the two-hour time frame, the release said.

Initially, the metro wasn’t listed as a separate category in the schedule of meetings, instead being grouped in the Central/Southeast category. Only three meetings are currently scheduled in the metro, but more are reportedly in the works.


The meetings schedule:

Metro

  • Carlos Avery/Forest Lake, Tuesday, April 24, Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area, 5463 W Broadway, conference room.
  • Shakopee, Tuesday, April 24, Shakopee Area Wildlife Office, 7050 E Highway 101.
  • Vermillion, Wednesday, April 25, Rosemount Research & Outreach Center, 16085 Alverno Ave.

Northwest

  • Crookston, Monday, April 16, Crookston Public Library, 110 N Ash St.
  • Red Lake, Monday, April 16, Hayes Lake State Park, 48990 County Road 4, Roseau.
  • Karlstad, Tuesday, April 17, Lake Bronson State Park, Kittson County Road 28, Lake Bronson.
  • Park Rapids, Tuesday, April 17, Park Rapids Area Library, 210 1st St. W.
  • Roseau, Tuesday, April 17, Roseau County Courthouse, 606 5th Ave. SW.
  • Thief Lake, Wednesday, April 18, Thief Lake Area Wildlife Office, 42280 240th Ave. NE, Middle River.
  • Baudette, Wednesday, April 18, Lake of the Woods School, 210 3rd Ave. NE, IT room.
  • Fergus Falls, Wednesday, April 18, Fergus Falls Area Wildlife Office, 1509 First Ave. N.
  • Glenwood, Thursday, April 19, Glenwood Area Wildlife Office, 23070 North Lakeshore Drive.
  • Bemidji, Tuesday, April 24, Bemidji City Hall, 317 4th St. NW.
  • Thief River Falls, Tuesday, April 24, Thief River Falls Area Wildlife Office, 246 125th Ave. NE.
  • Detroit Lakes, Thursday, April 26, Minnesota State Community College, 900 Minnesota Highway 34, campus auditorium.

Northeast

  • Aitkin, Tuesday, April 17, Aitkin Area DNR Office, 1200 Minnesota Ave S.
  • Brainerd, Wednesday, April 18, Brainerd Area DNR Office, 1601 Minnesota Drive, lower conference room.
  •  Tower, Wednesday, April 18, Mountain Iron Community Center, 8586 Enterprise Drive.
  • International Falls, Tuesday, April 24, Rainy River Community College,  1501 Highway 71, room H124.
  • Cloquet, Wednesday, April 25, Carlton County Transportation and Tax Forfeit Land Department Building, 1630 County Road 61.
  • Grand Rapids, Thursday, April 26, Grand Rapids Regional DNR Office, 1201 E Highway 2, upstairs conference room.
  • Two Harbors, Thursday, April 26, Two Harbors Area Wildlife Office, 1568 Highway 2.

Central/Southeast

  • Sauk Rapids, Thursday, April 19, Sauk Rapids Area DNR Office, 1035 South Benton Drive.
  • Mille Lacs, Monday, April 23, Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area Office, 29172 100th Ave.
  •  Little Falls, Tuesday, April 24, Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, 19502 Iris Road.
  • Rochester, Tuesday, April 24, Willow Creek Middle School, 2425 11th Ave. SE.
  • Whitewater, Thursday, April 26, Whitewater Wildlife Management Area Office, 15035 Highway 74.
  • Cambridge, Thursday, April 26, Cambridge Area Wildlife Office, 800 Oak Savanna Lane SW.

Southwest

  • Nicollet, Monday, April 16, Nicollet Conservation Club, 46045 471st Lane.
  • Marshall, Tuesday, April 17, Marshall Area DNR Office, 1400 E Lyon.
  • New London, Tuesday, April 17, MnDOT District 8, 2505 Transportation Road, Willmar.
  • Slayton/Talcot, Wednesday, April 18, Slayton Pizza Ranch, 2306 Broadway Avenue, Slayton.
  • Owatonna, Thursday, April 19, Cabela’s, 3900 Cabela Drive.
  • La Qui Parle and Appleton, Tuesday, April 24, Lac Qui Parle Area DNR Headquarters, 14047 20th St. NW, Watson.
  • Windom, Thursday, April 26, Windom Community Center, 1750 Cottonwood Lake Drive.

For those who can’t make the meetings, the DNR is encouraging the public to contact their local wildlife manager for additional information or to address any questions they may have about the deer plan. A list of area wildlife offices is available online at mndnr.gov/areas/wildlife.

Information about the deer plan, scheduled open houses, background information and a link to submit online comments are on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/deerplan.

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