Minnesota DNR seeks input on deer hunting, trapping, duck and fall turkey hunting

Editor’s note: The DNR issued this press release after our
weekly print deadline last week, so Outdoor News was unable to
include meetings times and dates for the Feb. 23 meeting in
Frontenac and the Feb. 25 meeting in Houston in our print
edition.

The Minnesota DNR is seeking citizen input on nearly a dozen
different hunting season options. The first of several public
meetings to be held during February and March is scheduled for Feb.
23 in Frontenac. The agency will take public comments on possible
changes to Zone 3 deer hunting regulations, youth deer hunting, use
of crossbows, fall turkey hunting, the duck season opener and
trapping.

 “We are addressing a number of topics that will be of great
interest to many hunters and trappers this year,” said Steve
Merchant, DNR wildlife program manager. “We are very open to
comment on all of these proposals and hope our stakeholders can
either attend a meeting or give us their comments online.”

Each year, the DNR conducts public meetings across the state to
gauge hunter opinions about regulations, seasons and other wildlife
management issues. Those who cannot attend the meetings are urged
to complete a questionnaire online at www.mndnr.gov starting Feb. 23. Topics
to be addressed include:

• Furbearer harvest: In an effort to simplify regulations and
provide additional opportunity, public comment will be taken on
allowing river otter trapping statewide, including in southwest
counties where the season is currently closed.

• Youth deer season: This four-day, youth-only deer season would
be conducted statewide during what’s colloquially known as MEA
Weekend, when public school students are given a two-day break on
Thursday and Friday so teachers can attend the annual Education
Minnesota Professional Conference. Youth would be allowed to take
one either-sex deer statewide. Adults would not be allowed to carry
a firearm. The early antlerless season would coincide with the
youth season in areas where an early antlerless hunt already is
scheduled.

• Buck cross-tagging: Public comment is being taken on requiring
hunters in Zone 3 to tag only bucks that they shoot. Hunters would
no longer be allowed to tag bucks for others in their hunting
party.

• Antler point restriction: In an effort to protect the majority
of yearling bucks and encourage the harvest of does. Zone 3 hunters
would be restricted to harvesting only bucks with at least four
antler points on one side.

• Zone 3 season length: If an antler point restriction were
enacted, the Zone 3A season would be lengthened to nine days under
this proposal.

• Crossbows: Public comment is being taken on allowing anyone 55
and older to hunt during the archery season with a crossbow.

• Fall turkey hunting: Public comment is being taken on a
proposal to expand fall turkey hunting to a single 30-day season.
Public comment will also be taken on allowing dogs while hunting
fall turkeys.

• Duck opener: Public comment is being invited on a possible
legislative change that would allow the duck season to open in late
September. For example, the 2010 duck season could open on Sept. 25
rather than Oct. 2 if this proposal were carried forward.

• Duck shooting hours: Comment is being taken to gauge public
support for moving shooting hours for ducks on opening day to
one-half hour before sunrise as opposed to the current shooting
hours, which begin at 9 a.m. Actual changes would require future
legislation.

• Other Waterfowl Management Options: Opportunity for public
comment on other management options such as moist soil units,
additional refuges, controlled hunting areas and split seasons and
zones.

•Waterfowl feeding and resting area: In addition, some local
meetings will include the chance to comment on establishing a
migratory waterfowl feeding and resting area at Upper Twin Lake in
Freeborn County.

MEETING DATES AND LOCATIONS

Unless noted, the following meetings will be from 7-9 p.m.

• Feb. 23: Frontenac Sportsman’s Club, 30301 Territorial Road,
Frontenac

• Feb. 25: Houston Community Center, 109 West Maple Street,
Houston

• March 4: Initiative Foundation, 405 First Street Southeast,
Little Falls

• March 4: Waseca Area Senior Citizen’s Center, 308 State Street
N, Waseca

• March 9: LaQuinta Inn & Suites, 1625 Broadway,
Rochester

• March 9:  Kilowatt Community Center, 600 Kilowatt Drive,
Granite Falls, 6:30- 8:30 p.m.

• March 11: DNR Headquarters cafeteria, 500 Lafayette Road, St.
Paul

• March 16: Spring Lake Town Hall Community Center, 20381
Fairlawn Avenue,

Prior Lake

• March 16 (6:30-9:30 p.m.): Hinckley-Finlayson High School
board room, 201 Main Street, Hinckley

• March 17 (6-9 p.m.): Rainy River Community College room H118,
International Falls

The location, time and date of meetings in northwest and
southwest Minnesota will be announced once meetings are scheduled.
Those who can’t attend the meetings may submit comments via e-mail
wildlife.dnr@state.mn.us or
mail written comments to: Season Comments, DNR Section

of Wildlife, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4007.

Categories: Rob Drieslein

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