Deer lottery areas increase; antlerless deadline Sept. 10

St. Paul – With nearly half of the 127 permit areas designated
as lottery areas for the upcoming deer-hunting season, Sept. 10 is
an important date for hunters to remember.

That’s the deadline for them to apply for an either-sex
permit.

“Hunters would be well advised to look at the regulations book,”
said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator.

Many areas went from the managed – or even intensive – to
lottery classification, and in 12 permit areas in the southwest,
youth hunters younger than 18 years old also have to apply by Sept.
10 for an antlerless permit.

In those areas – 234, 237, 274, 275, 282, 283, 284, 286, 288,
289, and 294 – only youths who are drawn in the lottery will be
able to shoot antlerless deer. Adult hunters will be hunting for
only bucks.

The intent in those areas is to grow deer populations.

“We would be dishonest if we just kept doing what we were doing
and hoped for a different outcome,” Cornicelli said. “I don’t think
we had much of a choice, but hopefully it’s just for a year or
two.”

Muzzleloader hunters, too – including those who only hunt during
the muzzleloader season – will have to apply by Sept. 10 if they
want to kill an antlerless deer in a lottery area.

A big change

In 2003, the DNR opened the floodgates and allowed hunters in
many of the state’s permit areas the opportunity to shoot two to
five deer.

High harvest combined with moderate to severe winter weather has
pushed populations to within levels established during a
goal-setting process the DNR went through.

“We went through the process of setting deer population goals
and in a lot of places around the state we are at our objective and
we are going back to a conservative management strategy,”
Cornicelli said.

The intensive classification, under which hunters may kill five
deer, is a means of reducing numbers to meet population objectives
rather than a long-term strategy. When deer populations are at goal
levels, permit areas will be classified as lottery or managed, he
said.

“That’s just a reflection of being at population goal,”
Cornicelli said. “We are certainly not in the mode of record deer
harvest. I apologize if people think that’s what the goal of the
project was.”

The 2009 season

It’s important for hunters to check the classification of the
permit area in which they hunt. While those hunters who miss the
application deadline might be able to purchase leftover permits,
it’s unlikely, Cornicelli said.

“We didn’t have any last year and I don’t suspect we will have
any this year,” he said.

Given the number of antlerless deer that hunters will be able to
take this year is down, so, too, will the total harvest be less
than what it’s been in recent years, Cornicelli said.

“It will be less than what we had last year – probably in that
low 200,000 range would be my gut guess,” he said.

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