Archers get first crack at state’s deer herd

St. Paul – The longest deer season kicks off Saturday, when
bowhunters hit the woods.

DNR officials expect nearly 100,000 of them to hunt during the
season and, if this year is like those in the recent past, they
will kill more than 20,000 whitetails.

“There’s no reason to think we won’t have a good archery
season,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator.

Regulations for bowhunters are largely the same, though in 11
lottery areas in the southwest – where the DNR drastically cut the
number of antlerless permits that are available – bowhunters and
others are restricted to shooting bucks only.

Youths who applied in the lottery and receive an either-sex tag
will be the only hunters who can take an antlerless deer in the
following permit areas: 234, 237, 274, 275, 282, 283, 284, 286,
288, 289, and 294. In all other areas, regular archery licenses
allow hunters to take a deer of either sex.

The white oak crop appears to be “fantastic” this year, and
white oak acorns are a preferred deer forage, Cornicelli said.

“Find a good white oak that’s got acorns on the ground around it
and sit there,” he said. “Right now, it’s food. Worry about grunt
calls and rattling later.”

While muzzleloader hunting is the fastest-growing segment of
deer hunting, archery seems to be gaining in popularity as well,
Cornicelli said. But while it’s growing, it’s also getting

“We are going to have to approach what we are going to do with
these 50- to 55-year-old people that have a bad rotator cuff and
want to bowhunt, but can’t,” he said.

Lottery applications

More than 100,000 hunters applied for either-sex permits in the
state’s lottery deer areas, which is about double from last year,
Cornicelli said.

About half of all permit areas are lottery areas this year,
compared with about one-third last year. But some of the areas that
went to lottery – like 104 and 107 – have particularly high numbers
of hunters.

While the DNR received some calls last_Friday – the day after
the lottery application deadline – from hunters who said they
weren’t aware they needed to apply for an either-sex permit, it’s
“encouraging” that so many hunters did apply, Cornicelli said.

Disease testing

The DNR won’t be working check stations to collect deer for
disease testing until the early antlerless season, which is slated
for Oct. 10-11.

The plan is to do testing for CWD in the southeast part of the
state after a captive elk with the disease was found in January of
this year. Officials hope to test 3,000 deer for CWD, according to
Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program coordinator for the

Additionally, surveillance for bovine TB in the northwest part
of the state will continue, and the plan is to test 1,800 deer, she

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