Positive vibes on eve of Minnesota’s firearms deer season

Several weeks back, we spent the weekend at the deer shack, preparing for the upcoming firearms season. The wood is now cut and stacked, and we should be ready to go.

We’re in a lottery area again, so even if we see deer it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be able to shoot them. That’s fine. Because for me – and for a lot of hunters, I believe – simply seeing deer is a big part of deer hunting.

Duh, right?

Let me explain. This season will be another conservative one in terms of regulations and harvest. Most people will be able to shoot just one deer, and many won’t even have the opportunity to pull the trigger. The overall harvest almost certainly will be higher than last year’s, when it was just below 140,000, but it will be well below the harvests of not too many years ago.

Yet, I sense a lot of optimism for the season. I’ve heard many reports of people seeing a lot of deer (and I saw many more than usual while driving up to the deer shack earlier in October). I’d say the general vibe about deer hunting is positive, which is different from the previous couple of years. Granted, it’s not scientific in the least, but a recent poll on our website asked hunters how optimistic they were about their prospects for killing a deer opening day. Fifty-nine percent said they were very or somewhat optimistic. Thirty percent said they weren’t optimistic, and 11 percent said they were just glad the season is here.

So, it’s going to be really interesting to monitor hunter feedback during and immediately after the firearms season, which kicks off Nov. 7. I believe it will show that simply being able to see deer – or being relatively confident they’re around – is a big part of what creates happy deer hunters.

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