Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Whitetail herd enters spring in good shape

Doe tag numbers likely will stabilize

St. Paul Antlerless permits in northern Minnesota for the 2001
white-tailed deer season will probably remain at levels similar to
last year, according to the DNR.

Steve Merchant, DNR forest wildlife program leader, said Tuesday
that the deer generally survived the 2000-01 winter “quite well.”
Deer encountered enough cold and snow in the northern part of the
state, however, to experience some winterkill enough that the DNR
probably will not increase the number of antlerless permits there
again this fall.

“It was a real winter, and there was some winter mortality up
north,” Merchant said.

DNR biologists have seen some adult deer mortality in the
north-central part of the state, including the Aitkin, Camp Ripley,
and Mille Lacs areas, Merchant said. That included some reports as
recently as two weeks ago, before green foliage became more
predominant.

Though winter severity index readings in February were higher
than the past three winters in the north, they didn’t begin to
approach the record levels of the 1996-97 winter, Merchant said.
The WSI readings, however, are considered when determining the
number of antlerless tags.

Following the three mild winters of 1998 through 2000,
antlerless tags in the north increased dramatically. That trend
likely will taper off when the DNR announces the 2001 tag
total.

“It’s safe to say we won’t see any major increases in number of
antlerless permits in the forested portion of the state, but we
don’t anticipate dropping them either,” Merchant said.

In southern and western Minnesota, DNR managers report some fawn
mortality typical of an average Minnesota winter, but little to no
adult deer mortality, Merchant said.

“In those areas, the feeling among managers is that good
recruitment is likely and that in certain areas we’ll see
additional antlerless permits offered,” Merchant said.

Overall, deer entered the winter in good shape, and most adult
does statewide should drop healthy fawns in the coming weeks,
Merchant said. Meanwhile, DNR deer managers will be crunching data
to determine the exact number of antlerless tags by June.

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