DNR: Deer-hunting opportunities up for this fall

Thanks to a series of mild winters and conservative hunting regulations, additional deer hunting opportunities will be available in Minnesota this fall, according to a news release Thursday, Aug. 3 from the Minnesota DNR.

“Deer populations have responded well to favorable winter weather and our efforts to rebuild deer numbers, and we have been able to expand harvest opportunities in almost all areas of the state this fall,” Adam Murkowski, big game program leader for the DNR, said in the release.

Hunters can currently buy deer licenses and apply for the lottery for antlerless deer permits. The deadline to apply for the antlerless permit lottery is Thursday, Sept. 7. Archery deer season opens Saturday, Sept. 16, and firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 4.

Also in a news release Thursday, the DNR said hunters have through Friday, Aug. 18 to apply for the regular archery deer hunts at Camp Ripley near Little Falls. Apply online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense, by phone at 888-665-4236 or in person wherever Minnesota hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

At Camp Ripley, hunters may pick from one of two hunting seasons: Oct. 19-20 (Thursday-Friday, code 668) or Oct. 28-29 (Saturday-Sunday, code 669). A total of 4,000 permits – 2,000 per two-day hunt – will be made available. The bag limit for this year’s hunt is one, and bonus permits may be used to take antlerless deer. Go to mndnr.gov/deer to find additional rules and instructions for this year’s hunt.

Overall in Minnesota, there are 130 permit areas for 2017. In one deer permit area, only bucks can be hunted (down from five areas last season). In 48 areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to harvest an antlerless deer (down from 67 areas). In 38 areas, hunters have the choice of harvesting a doe or a buck (up from 32 areas). Bonus permits allowing hunters to harvest more than one deer may be used in 43 permit areas and for some special hunts (up from 24 areas).

Buying a license


All hunters who purchase licenses by Sept. 7 are automatically entered into the lottery if they declare a lottery deer permit area when they buy their license. Those who do not wish to harvest an antlerless deer are encouraged to purchase their license after the lottery deadline, the DNR said in the release.

Hunters may apply using both their firearm and muzzleloader licenses. If hunters are selected for both licenses, they must select the one season in which they want to shoot an antlerless deer.

Deer hunting licenses, lottery applications and special hunt applications are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-646-6367 or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense. Lottery winners will be notified in October.

Permit area changes


Changes in southeastern Minnesota occurred when portions of permit areas 347 and 348 were merged to form permit area 603 when chronic wasting disease was detected last fall, the DNR said. In northeastern Minnesota’s moose range, all or some of permit areas 122, 127, 176, 178, 180, and 181 were realigned to form permit areas 130, 131, 132 and 133.

A hunter may tag one legal buck per year, without exception. In southeastern Minnesota’s 300 series permit areas, these designations apply to both early and late – A and B – seasons.

A breakdown of 2017 deer permit areas:

  • Only male deer with one antler at least three inches long may be harvested in the bucks-only permit area 119.
  • Hunters must be selected in the lottery to harvest an antlerless deer in these lottery permit areas: 103, 108, 111, 126, 132, 152, 159, 169, 173, 176, 178, 181, 183, 197, 199, 224, 234, 235, 237, 238, 250, 251, 252, 253, 262, 266, 269, 270, 271, 272, 274, 275, 278, 279, 280, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 291, 294, 295, 296, 297 and 299.
  • Hunters can choose to shoot a single buck or single antlerless deer in these hunter-choice permit areas: 101, 105, 110, 114, 117, 118, 130, 131, 133, 155, 156, 171, 172, 177, 179, 184, 203, 208, 219, 221, 222, 223, 230, 239, 246, 247, 249, 254, 258, 260, 273, 277, 281, 290, 298, 338, 339 and 344.
  • Hunters may harvest two deer, only one of which may be a buck, in these managed permit areas: 157, 201, 209, 210, 213, 218, 225, 227, 229, 232, 233, 236, 240, 242, 248, 255, 256, 257, 259, 261, 263, 264, 265, 267, 268, 276, 292, 293, 341, 342, 343, 345 and 347.
  • Hunters may harvest up to three deer, only one of which may be a buck, in these intensive permit areas: 182, 214, 215, 241, 287 (no archery hunting), 346, 348 and 349. This is a change from previous years when up to five deer could be taken in intensive harvest permit areas.
  • Deer permit areas 346, 348, 349 and 603 are open for the early antlerless-only hunt in October.

Chronic wasting disease sampling


The discovery of deer infected with chronic wasting disease that were raised in captivity on farms in Crow Wing and Meeker counties means that wild deer harvested from permit areas surrounding those farms will be tested for CWD this fall during the first two days of the firearms deer season. Those areas are:

  • North central (Crow Wing County area): Permit areas 155, 171, 172, 242, 246, 247, 248 and 249.
  • Central (Meeker County area): Permit areas 218, 219, 229, 277, 283 and 285.

Wild deer in these areas are not known to have CWD. Testing will determine if the disease has spread.

Testing also will be mandatory during the first two days of the firearm season in permit areas surrounding the disease management zone in southeastern Minnesota. Those areas are 343, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349.

Deer harvested within the disease management zone – deer permit area 603 – will be tested throughout the season and carcass movement restricted until a test result is received.

Deer permit area 603 will again open for late-season hunting from Jan. 6-14, 2018. More information will be available approaching the firearms deer season.

Proposed late-season hunt


Liberal regulations have not been adequate to bring some populations to goal levels, so a new late antlerless-only hunt may be offered, the DNR said. The purpose of the hunt would be to reduce deer populations in deer permit areas 346 and 349 that have been over goal since at least 2010, and in area 348 which has also been above goal since 2014 and is immediately adjacent to CWD deer permit area 603. Efforts have been underway in area 603 since last winter to reduce deer densities to remove potentially positive deer and reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Proposed dates for areas 346, 348 and 349 would be the same as those for the CWD late hunt in deer permit area 603, Jan. 6-14, 2018.

Public input about this proposed late hunt will be taken at meetings in August in Houston and St. Paul. An opportunity to provide online input will also be provided. Details will be announced once more information is available. A decision as to whether or not to offer this hunt will be made after the DNR considers public input.

For more information on deer hunting in Minnesota, go to mndnr.gov/deer.

Categories: CWD, Hunting News, Whitetail Deer

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