Learn rules for portable stands

Hunters planning to use portable stands on wildlife management areas this season are reminded to check regulations to learn when they need to remove stands after hunting.
“In most of the state, leaving stands overnight on WMAs is not allowed and they must be removed at the end of the day,” said Bob Welsh, Department of Natural Resources wildlife operations manager. “Users of most WMAs will not see a change in stand regulations this year, but there is a change in an area of northwestern Minnesota.”  
In a specific portion of northwestern Minnesota, new legislation allows portable stands to be left out on WMAs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.
Minnesota has 1.3 million acres of land in WMAs, and an estimated 500,000 hunters are expected to hit the woods and fields during firearms deer season in hopes of harvesting a deer.

New in northwestern Minnesota
The new regulation allows WMA users to leave up to two portable stands overnight in any WMA in the northwestern corner of the state roughly north of Thief River Falls and west of Warroad.
The area also is described as north of Highway 1 where it exits the Red Lake Indian Reservation to the western edge of the state, and west of a line from Highway 89 where it exits the Red Lake Indian Reservation to Fourtown, then north on the west side of Dick’s Parkway Forest Road, then north to Highway 5 to the northern edge of the state.
The DNR defines a portable stand as a stationary platform or blind designed and capable of being readily moved by hand by a single person in a single trip without the aid of a motorized vehicle, is secured in position and does no permanent damage to the natural environment.
Hunters leaving a stand overnight must label the stand with the hunter’s name and address; the hunter’s driver’s license number; or simply with the hunter’s MDNR number. The label must be readable from the ground.

WMAs elsewhere in Minnesota
In WMAs in the remainder of the state, stands cannot be left overnight.
“Every year we have people leaving stands overnight on WMAs, so it’s a common violation,” said Greg Salo, assistant director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “We have this regulation in place to prevent some users from pre-empting others from the opportunity to use WMAs on a first-come, first-served basis.”
Portable stands may be used on WMAs if they are removed each day at the close of shooting hours and do no permanent damage. Spikes or nails driven into trees are not allowed, but screwing or clamping devices are allowed if removed each day at the close of shooting hours.
“In addition to WMAs, there are a variety of other public land types and hunters should be aware that regulations governing the use of portable stands can differ depending on the type of public land they’re hunting,” Salo said.
Hunters should always wear a safety harness if using an elevated stand, added Salo.
“In addition to wearing a safety harness, check climbing sticks, steps or ladders for damage and always wait to load a firearm until safely in the stand,” Salo said.
Hunters need to be familiar with hunting regulations, which are available at any DNR license agent or online at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting. Hunting questions should be directed to the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

School's out, youth deer hunting season in

Youth, ages 10-15, can participate in a special deer season that runs from Thursday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 22, in 28 permit areas of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota, including in the Twin Cities metro permit area 601, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Deer permit areas open to the hunt are: 101, 105, 111, 114, 201, 203, 208, 209, 256, 257, 260, 263, 264, 267, 268, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343, 344 (including Whitewater Game Refuge), 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 601 and 603. Blaze orange or blaze pink requirements apply to all hunters, trappers and adult mentors in areas open for the youth deer season. Public land is open, and private land is open if the hunters have landowner permission.
Youth hunters in permit area 603 must have their deer tested for chronic wasting disease and cannot move the carcass out of the permit area until a negative test result is received; more information is available at mndnr.gov/cwd/603.
Regulations and more information about the youth season can be found on page 34 of the 2017 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook and online at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Minnesota Gov. Dayton skunked in pheasant hunting opener

Hunters reported birds, but few good opportunities in the Marshall area during the seventh annual Governor’s Pheasant Hunt on Saturday.  
The Marshall area, known for its pheasant habitat and hunter and dog-friendly lodging, hosted Gov. Dayton, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and hundreds of guests.
A total of 153 hunters harvested 28 roosters during the morning hunt. Gov. Dayton’s hunting party did not take any pheasants. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith was part of the women’s hunt Saturday morning, and did not take any pheasants.
The weekend festivities included a youth clay target league competition as well as the dedication of the James Meger Memorial Wildlife Management Area, which had 220 people on hand.
The evening banquet had 384 people in attendance.
Next year’s Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener is scheduled in Luverne. Explore Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will assist local partners in planning the event.
Luverne has a population of 4,658 and is the county seat of Minnesota’s southwestern-most county, Rock County. Luverne is located at the junction of Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 71.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Deer hunts scheduled at several state parks this fall

Special hunts to prevent overpopulation of deer and protect resources will occur at several Minnesota state parks this fall.
Access to the parks will vary during these hunts.
Some parks will remain open to all visitors, some will have limited access and some will be open only to hunters with special permits (closed to the general public). The deadlines for youth and adults to apply for a special permit to participate in the hunts - which include firearms, muzzleloader and archery options - have passed.
“Too many of one animal or plant species in an area can start to throw off the balance of other species in that area,” said Tavis Westbrook, Natural Resource Program coordinator for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “When there are too many deer in a park, they tend to feed too much on certain trees and native plant communities, so occasionally we allow deer hunts as a means of protecting natural resources.”
The DNR advises anyone planning to visit a state park between now and the end of December to go online or call ahead to check whether a hunt is planned and whether the park will be open. The DNR also advises wearing blaze orange when visiting parks where hunts are taking place. Visitors should check for hunt-related information at the park office when they arrive, look carefully for hunt-related signage and follow instructions.
“We do our best to minimize disruption to park visitors, but in some cases safety concerns require us to close - or partially close - the parks where these hunts take place,” Westbrook said.
For a list of parks that are open, partially open or closed during the 2017 hunting season, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/hunting.html or contact the DNR Information Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday). Details on which areas of each park will be affected by the special deer hunts can also be found in the “Visitor Alert” boxes on the individual park webpages at www.mndnr.gov

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Early antlerless-only deer hunting season runs Oct. 19-22

Hunters in portions of southeastern Minnesota can harvest antlerless deer in an early antlerless-only season from Thursday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 22, in deer permit areas 346, 348, 349 and 603 in Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted and Winona counties, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“This hunt aims to reduce the deer population because of high deer densities that damage agricultural crops and other resources in three of these permit areas,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager. “This year the hunt includes permit area 603 as one of several ways to reduce deer numbers to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease.”
Populations in permit areas 346, 348 and 349 have been over the population goals established in 2014 for multiple seasons. The antlerless-only season would help move populations toward established goals and provide additional hunting opportunity.
To participate, hunters must possess at least one valid unused early antlerless permit. Bonus permits may be used, but hunters must possess at least one valid unused early antlerless permit.
Public land is limited in the early antlerless hunt areas and hunters need to ask permission to hunt private lands.
In the early antlerless deer hunt, only antlerless deer may be taken, and hunters may use up to five early antlerless permits. Deer harvested during the special season do not count toward a hunter’s statewide limit during other deer seasons. Early antlerless deer permits cost $7.50 for residents, $40 for nonresidents, and may be purchased wherever hunting licenses are sold.
Hunters in permit area 603 must have their adult deer tested for chronic wasting disease and cannot move the carcass out of the permit area until a negative test result is received. Properly cut-up deer and boned-out meat can be taken out of the area provided no brain matter or spinal column material is attached. Information on proper steps to follow after harvesting a deer in permit area 603 is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd/603.
CWD testing during the early antlerless and youth season outside the CWD zone is not required. Mandatory testing will occur on Nov. 4-5, during the first two days of the firearms deer season in these areas. Individuals can voluntarily have deer tested for CWD through the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the University of Minnesota for a fee. More information is available online at vdl.umn.edu or by telephone at 612-625-8787.
The DNR has not yet made a decision about whether to have a late antlerless-only season in permit areas 346, 348 and 349 this winter.
All deer harvested during the early antlerless-only season must be tagged with an early antlerless or bonus permit, or disease management permit if the deer was taken in permit area 603. Hunters also must have a valid archery, firearms or muzzleloader deer license to participate. The early antlerless season coincides with the four-day special youth deer season. More information can be found at mndnr.gov/deer.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Richard Bong State Recreation Area visitor entrance station closed temporarily

Pheasant hunters planning on hunting at Richard Bong State Recreation Area will need to do things differently this year when they come to purchase their hunting permit.
A vehicle accident occurred at the Bong entrance station last month that has put it out of commission for a while. As a result, customer service staff are temporarily relocated to the Molinaro/Nature Visitor Center.
Rather than driving up to the entrance station and purchasing the permit from their vehicle, hunters need to drive to the visitor center and walk to the building to purchase permits. This is likely to result in some delays in permits being issued.
The visitor center will open at 8 a.m. each day of the season, and hunters should plan on arriving early so they can get their hunting permits and get to hunting locations by the opening of the season at 9 a.m. Bringing cash to pay for permits will expedite permit sales.
For more information on the recreation area, search the DNR Website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords “Richard Bong.”
For information on pheasant hunting, search “pheasant hunting.”

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR sets new tagging rules for deer, turkey season

MADISON, WI - As the archery and turkey seasons continue and the youth deer hunters will take to the field this weekend, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters about recently implemented changes involving the use of deer and turkey carcass tags.
Deer tags are still issued with license purchases. However, validation and attachment of tags is no longer required, nor is the requirement to keep the tag with the deer meat.
Turkey carcass tags have been replaced with Turkey Harvest Authorizations. Turkey hunters are no longer required to validate or attach the tag, or to keep the tag with the turkey meat.
To date, nearly one million deer and turkey carcass tags have been issued for the current fall hunting seasons. All previously issued deer and turkey carcass tags are still valid as an authorization to hunt deer or turkey within the assigned or designated location. Customers making additional purchases throughout the remainder of this year's hunting seasons will be issued products that will not include the usual validation and attachment language.
While hunting, customers will still be required to carry proof they are authorized to hunt within the designated location. Hunters will be able to use their paper tag/authorization, DNR issued Conservation Card, a GoWild validated Wisconsin driver's license, a GoWild digital file as proof of compliance.
Harvested turkey and deer must still be registered under current law. Harvest registration is a critical part of deer and turkey population management. Customers will be asked to enter either their deer tag number or their turkey harvest authorization number into the Game Registration system to begin the harvest registration process. Please note, tag or authorization numbers are different than a customer identification number. Hunters will need to know their tag or authorization number to register.
All harvested turkey and deer must be registered electronically by 5 p.m. the day after being recovered. GameReg is simple, fast and convenient for hunters. The system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions, beginning with the deer tag/harvest authorization number and the hunter's date of birth.
Hunters will have two options for registering:
* Online at GameReg.wi.gov (fastest and easiest option).
* Or, by phone at 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG).
For more information regarding electronic registration, search "GameReg."
These changes do not affect other species such as bear, bobcat, fisher, otter or sturgeon.
For updated regulations materials, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword, "hunt." You'll be able to find key updates and official regulations under the "Know" tab.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR