DNR: First statewide deer plan aims to increase transparency, build relationships [video]
A new statewide deer plan released today (Tuesday, July 24) by the Minnesota DNR sets new goals and priorities, increases formal opportunities for citizens to influence deer decisions, and aims for a disease-free deer population, the DNR said in a news release.
The plan reflects a two-year planning effort that involved statewide meetings and hundreds of in-depth conversations with citizens and stakeholders. It includes input from a 19-member citizen advisory committee, dozens of public input meetings and open houses, more than 1,100 submitted comments and letters from tribal governments, hunting organizations and others.
For the 50-plus page plan, click here.
The plan’s eight broad goals cover topics ranging from research, to keeping Minnesota’s deer populations healthy to how the DNR and the public work together on deer management.
The DNR will also increase two-way communication with hunters, landowners and others by convening annual deer management discussions with interested citizens at the area wildlife office level and creating an ongoing statewide deer stakeholder input group, the DNR said in the release.
Local meetings will provide hunters and others with a forum for sharing their observations, hearing the DNR’s management proposals and identifying opportunities to improve deer management.
Responding to chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Minnesota’s wild deer herd will be a top priority for the agency in the near term, the agency said in the release, adding that the plan provides direction to eliminate CWD in wild deer and minimize the risk of new introductions.
In addition to goals, the plan includes specific performance measures that will help the DNR and the public track progress over time. One performance measure is a statewide harvest target. The DNR will track annual harvests in relation to a general statewide harvest target of 200,000 deer per year. This number reflects the approximate statewide harvest when deer populations are generally within goal range in most permit areas.
As part of its new outreach effort, the DNR is encouraging the public to contact their local wildlife manager for additional information or to address any questions they may have about the deer plan. A list of area wildlife offices is available online at mndnr.gov/areas/wildlife.