Public input sought on proposed late-season deer hunt

People can give input on a proposed late-season antlerless only deer hunt in southeastern Minnesota.The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will host two public input meetings about the proposed hunt, potential dates, bag limits and other restrictions.
The first meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, in the Houston Elementary School gymnasium, 310 S. Sherman St. in Houston. The second meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, in the DNR Central Office lobby, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. Online input will be taken from Monday, Aug. 28, through Monday, Sept. 11.
“We want to discuss why this hunt is proposed, at both meetings. And DNR staff will explain the purpose of the proposed dates and bag limits,” said Adam Murkowski, Big Game Program leader.
The late-season antlerless only hunt is being currently proposed for Saturday, Jan. 6, to Sunday, Jan. 14, concurrent with the late chronic wasting disease hunt in deer permit area 603. The deer permit areas that are proposed to be included are 346, 348 and 349 in the far southeastern corner of the state.
Populations in the three permit areas have been over the population goals established in 2014 for multiple seasons. This proposed additional late antlerless only season hunt would facilitate moving populations toward established goals and provide additional hunting opportunity. The DNR is interested in hearing from hunters, landowners and other citizens who are affected by deer in these areas.  
“We are particularly interested in knowing how people feel about some of the specifics of the proposed hunt,” Murkowski said. “For instance, if the proposed hunt occurs what dates should the hunt be held to be most effective, should the hunt be limited to private land only, is a bag limit of five deer appropriate and should the hunt occur at all.”
More information about deer is available at mndnr.gov/deer.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Applications open for prairie chicken hunt lottery

Hunters can apply through Friday, Aug. 18, to be chosen for one of 125 permits for the 2017 Minnesota prairie chicken hunting season.
The nine-day prairie chicken season begins Saturday, Sept. 30, and is open only to Minnesota residents.
“Prairie chicken populations are tied to habitat, and their numbers rise and fall depending on the amount of grasslands and prairie on the ground,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Hunters will be charged a $4 application fee and may apply individually or in groups up to four. Prairie chicken licenses cost $23. Apply at any DNR license agent; the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul; online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense or by telephone at 888-665-4236. An additional fee is charged for orders placed online or by phone.
The hunt is in 11 prairie chicken quota areas in west-central Minnesota between St. Hilaire in the north and Breckenridge in the south. Up to 20 percent of the permits in each area will be issued to landowners or tenants of 40 acres or more of prairie or grassland property within the permit area for which they applied. The season bag limit is two prairie chickens per hunter. According to spring surveys, prairie chicken numbers this year are similar to the last several year. Last year, 111 hunters harvested 102 prairie chickens.
Licensed prairie chicken hunters will be allowed to take sharp-tailed grouse while legally hunting prairie chickens, but prairie chicken hunters who want to take sharptails must meet all regulations and licensing requirements for taking sharp-tailed grouse. Sharptails and prairie chickens look similar and sharp-tailed grouse hunting is normally closed in this area of the state to protect prairie chickens that might be taken accidentally.
Applications are available wherever Minnesota hunting and fishing licenses are sold and application procedures and a permit area map are available at mndnr.gov/hunting/prairiechicken.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Small game hunters decline in Minnesota

Fewer small game hunters took to Minnesota fields in 2016 as compared to the previous season.
By species, grouse hunters were up slightly, but duck, goose and pheasant hunters were down slightly, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ annual small game survey.
There were 67,301 duck hunters in 2016, fewer than the previous year, which led to a decline in the duck harvest from 663,811 in 2015 to 606,458, but the take per active hunter was up slightly in 2016 (9.0 ducks per hunter compared to 8.7 ducks per hunter in 2015).
Canada goose harvest edged up slightly to an estimated 204,825 geese harvested despite the decline in hunters from 45,938 in 2015 to 40,950 in 2016. Estimated take per hunter increased from 5.7 to 7.1 geese per successful hunters.
An estimated 59,965 pheasant hunters went afield in 2016, down slightly from 2015. Estimated ring-necked pheasant harvest declined from 243,176 roosters to 196,141, similar to 2011 levels.  A wet fall and standing corn throughout much of the pheasant range likely contributed to some of the reduced harvest.
In 2016, the number of grouse hunters was 82,348, representing an increase of 4 percent from 2015. The ruffed grouse harvest increased slightly from 267,997 grouse in 2015 to 308,955 in 2016.
The DNR annually surveys small game hunters to make estimates of both hunter numbers and harvest trends. For the 2016 season, 7,000 small game license buyers were surveyed of which 3,371 surveys were returned and usable.
The complete report is on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/publications/wildlife.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Minnesota deer hunters get additional opportunities this fall

Additional deer hunting opportunities will be available this fall thanks to a series of mild winters and conservative hunting regulations, which have resulted in rebounding deer populations across Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources.“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,” said Adam Murkowski, big game program leader for the DNR.
Hunters can buy deer licenses and apply to the lottery for antlerless deer permits now. 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. Every year harvest regulations are reviewed, taking a wide variety of information into consideration. Department scientists use the previous year’s harvest data, winter severity information, aerial survey information, where available, and other information to estimate late winter deer abundance in each permit area. These estimates are compared to established population goals for each area and along with observation from DNR area wildlife managers, hunters, farmers, foresters and others, form the basis for final season recommendations.
“Throughout the process, coordination and discussions occur to ensure science-based decisions are guiding management decisions, with the best information we have available to us,” Murkowski said.
The regulations for each of Minnesota’s deer permit areas are set to manage deer populations toward goals established for each area. These goals are based on information from the DNR and local citizens through a periodic goal-setting process.  
There are 130 permit areas in 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 only 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.
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. 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.

Permit area breakdown
The following is a breakdown of 2017 deer permit areas. 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.
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.
Complete CWD sampling, testing and disease management information is regularly updated on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd and details will be announced as they become available.

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 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 public input 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.

Carcass movement restrictions
Hunters who harvest deer outside the state are reminded that they cannot bring whole carcasses of any member of the deer family into Minnesota. These animals include but are not limited to white-tail deer, mule deer, black-tail deer, elk, caribou and moose. More information is available at mndnr.gov/deerimports.  

More information
Hunters need to review new deer hunting regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes before applying for the antlerless lottery. Regularly updated deer information, including the DNR’s deer permit mapping tool, can be found online at mndnr.gov/deer.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Bonus antlerless deer tags available Aug. 14

MADISON, WI - Bonus antlerless deer tags will be available for purchase starting Monday, Aug. 14, at 10 a.m. through the Go Wild website and license sales locations.
Visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword "deer" and prepare for another season in the woods.
Bonus tags will be sold at a rate of one per person per day until sold out or until the 2017 deer hunting season ends. Bonus tags cost $12 each for Wisconsin residents, $20 each for non-residents and $5 each for youth ages 10 and 11.
For a list of units with bonus tags available for purchase, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "bonus availability." These and all other deer hunting licenses and tags are available online through the Go Wild website, GoWild.WI.gov or at any of more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations.
To prepare for the sale, each day at 9:45 a.m., an online queuing system will be put in place to manage volume in the Go Wild system. At 10 a.m. all online users that are on the site will be randomly assigned a number and staged into a "virtual" line regardless of the actual time you entered into the system. There is no advantage for customers who enter the site before 9:59 a.m. Please note that customers who enter the site after the randomization that occurs at 10 a.m., will be added to the end of "virtual" line in the order in which they arrive. All visitors to the site during this time period will experience the queuing system.
When you access the Go Wild site, follow the prompts until you reach your personalized dashboard. To purchase a Bonus tag, click the "Buy Licenses" button from the dashboard to open the sales catalog. From there, you will find the Bonus Antlerless Deer Tag at the very top of the list. If you haven't had the chance to get your license in advance, Go Wild can help you purchase one after you select the Bonus Antlerless Deer Tag.
Hunters will need to know the deer management zone, unit, and determine whether they will hunt on public or private land in order to purchase unit-specific bonus tags.
The first three days of bonus tag sales are management zone-specific and will be available:
Aug. 14, 10 a.m. - Northern and Central Forest (Zone 1) (77,075 tags available).
Aug. 15, 10 a.m.- Central Farmland (Zone 2) (82,900 tags available).
Aug. 16, 10 a.m.- Southern Farmland (Zone 2) (41,550 tags available).
Aug. 17, 10 a.m. - remaining bonus tags (all zones).
As a reminder, Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags are now available for distribution. Depending on the deer management unit, one or more Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless deer tags are included with the purchase of each gun and archery deer hunting license.
Those interested in receiving occasional email reminders can sign up to receive messages about season dates, license and tag types, and other information. Visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page for "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select a list of your choice.
For more information regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "deer."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Learn to hunt pheasants with a mentor

Youth and families can apply through Monday, Aug. 21, to learn how to hunt pheasants with experienced hunters in October.
“These hunts can be the building blocks for a lifetime of rich experiences in the field,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Find out about equipment and skills you need to have safe and rewarding hunts.”
Youth must be 12-17 years old as of the date of their hunt, have earned a firearms safety certificate and possess a small game license if required. Youth must have a parent, guardian or adult authorized by a parent or guardian accompany them as a mentor, without a firearm. The adult must also attend with the youth during the pre-hunt orientation.
In the family hunt, all participants can hunt, but they need to be 12 and older, have little to no pheasant hunting experience, and have the appropriate safety certificate, stamp and license.
The hunts are provided through Pheasants Forever and the DNR. Applications and more details about the hunt are available online at mndnr.gov/discover by contacting Kurre at 651-259-5193 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Youth can apply to hunt with mentors on Youth Waterfowl Day

Youth ages 12 to 15 can apply to hunt waterfowl under the guidance of experienced mentors on Minnesota Youth Waterfowl Day on Saturday, Sept. 9.
“Helping a kid learn to hunt is a great way to share your skills and show what the outdoors have to offer,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.                                                       
Ducks Unlimited, the U.S. National Wildlife Service, Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club, the Fox Lake Conservation League, the DNR and others have teamed up to offer the hunts, which will take place in four areas:
* Southern Twin Cities metro area locations.
* Sherburn private land between Fairmont and Windom.
* Private land in Fergus Falls.
* Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Zimmerman and Princeton.
Application forms must be received at the DNR central office by Friday, Aug. 18. Applicants will be drawn in a lottery if a hunt is oversubscribed, with preference given to novice hunters. Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible and must attend an orientation on Friday, Sept. 8, in the location for which they were chosen.
Applications and more details about the hunt are available online at mndnr.gov/discover and by contacting Kurre at 651-259-5193 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR