Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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DNR hires Pennsylvania white-tailed deer expert

Field Editor

Madelia, Minn. Hiring deer research biologist Marrett Grund is
like getting a return on an investment, says his new supervisor,
DNR Farmland Research Program leader Dick Kimmel.

Grund, 31, who begins work as Minnesota’s farmland deer research
biologist at the Madelia station on June 14, is coming home,
because he grew up in nearby New Ulm and did graduate research at
Madelia. For the past three years, he’s worked as supervisor of
deer management for the Pennsylvania Game Commission and was
instrumental in that agency’s successful effort to revamp its deer
hunting programs. A recent story in a Pittsburgh newspaper noted
that his expertise will be missed in Pennsylvania.

“What the newspaper had to say about Marrett’s departure is
pretty telling,” says Mike DonCarlos, Minnesota DNR research
administrator. “He was the backbone of their deer management
program. This guy’s a good one.”

Grund is no stranger to Minnesota deer management, because he
was a deer research biologist in Madelia from 1992-98 a time Kimmel
considers an “investment” in his career. Grund studied urban deer
in Bloomington, participated in the archery wounding loss study at
Camp Ripley, and evaluated Minnesota’s deer population modeling. He
moved away from the state in 1998.

Since 2000, Grund has worked with Pennsylvania biologist Dr.
Gary Alt developing a deer management program for that state. That
effort garnered widespread national attention, because it set up a
season structure that protects antlered deer with a point
restriction. The goal is to reduce overall deer numbers.

“In Pennsylvania, deer are overabundant, which has led to
ecological concerns,” says Grund. “We used hunters and hunting to
remedy ecological concerns.”

Kimmel says working in Pennsylvania helped Grund hone his
communication skills, especially when working with hunters and the
general public.

“He worked through some difficult issues of changing traditional
hunting seasons to address the buck overharvest,” Kimmel said.

Grund is modest about his accomplishments. He says there are a
million ways to manage deer, but the method chosen must be
acceptable to hunters and the public.

In Minnesota, among his first tasks will be looking at deer
population modeling for southeastern and northwestern
Minnesota.

Kimmel says Grund may incorporate aerial surveys to get a better
handle on deer numbers in those portions of the state. The DNR
recently completed a deer research needs survey. The Farmland
Research Unit has just completed a multi-year deer mortality study.
Results from that study will be evaluated to determine if further
mortality research is needed. That project was headed up by Chris
DePerno, who left the Minnesota DNR in early May to take a
university position in North Carolina.

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