St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota DNR announced some important dates as it pertains to the opportunity for the public to engage in setting deer population goals in portions of east and south-central Minnesota this winter.
Starting on Jan. 23, anyone interested in deer management can offer their input on deer population goals in 23 deer permit areas. Those targeted DPAs this year are:
- DPAs 152, 155, 156, 157, 159, 172, 183, 221, 222, 225, 248, 249, 604 in the East Central Uplands goal block
- DPAs 219, 223, 224, 227, 229, 235, 236, 285, 338, 605 in the Sand Plain/Big Woods goal block.
Anyone interested in deer management of those DPAs can share their thoughts through multiple avenues.
Opportunities for input include filling out an online questionnaire, a webinar, and two in-person public meetings for those who wish to connect directly with an area wildlife manager.
Written comments will also be accepted via email at DeerGoalSettingSurvey.DNR@state.mn.us or mailed to: Barb Keller, Fish and Wildlife Division, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155. Comments must be received by Feb. 13 to be considered in the goal-setting process.
In 2019, the DNR updated its deer population goal-setting process, which previously obtained input through citizen advisory committees and in-person public meetings. The new format is designed to increase participation and encourage varied perspectives.
“We’re excited to hear people’s thoughts and encourage anyone with an interest in deer management to give feedback on deer population trends in the areas where they live, work and recreate,” said Todd Froberg, DNR big game program coordinator.
The DNR establishes deer population goals — how much of a population increase or decrease is desired in a particular DPA — as part of managing the state’s wild deer.
Population goals established in this process will provide direction for deer management in the DPAs for a 10-year period, with a midpoint review at the five-year mark. Goal blocks and the DPAs that comprise them are established based on similar habitat, land uses, deer populations and deer hunter distribution.
Public meetings are scheduled as follows:
- Online from 6-7:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 for the East Central Uplands and Sand Plain/Big Woods goal blocks.
- 6-7:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 in the auditorium at the Pine Technical and Community College, 900 4th SE, Pine City, for the East Central Uplands goal block.
- 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31, in the Dakota B Room at Dakota County Technical College, 1300 145th East, Rosemount for the Sand Plain/Big Woods goal block.
The online feedback portal will be open Jan. 23-Feb. 13. Participants will be asked to complete an online questionnaire and indicate whether the deer population in a particular area should increase, decrease, or stay the same and provide their rationale.
The Jan. 23 webinar will give participants information about both goal blocks and explain the goal-setting process. It will be recorded and posted online for those who can’t participate. Participants will be able to ask questions and provide input during the webinar.
In-person meetings during the last week of January will present information about each goal-setting block, seek participant input and allow DNR wildlife staff to answer participants’ questions.
“We strongly encourage people to join us for the webinar and in-person meetings,” Froberg said. “Anyone may participate, regardless of affiliation or knowledge of the process, and we’ll present useful information, answer questions, and provide participants several options to share their opinions.”
Complete details about each goal block, how to participate in the process, meeting schedules and how to access the questionnaire are listed on the DNR’s website.