Deer hunters will soon head out to the fields and forests in anticipation of the firearms deer opener that gets underway a half-hour before sunrise on Saturday, Nov. 7.
“Many hunters look forward to deer season all year as a way to enjoy nature and the outdoors, and reconnect with family,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations program manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Hunters also enjoy seeing deer, and the good news is there should be more deer out there this year.”
Deer populations are on the rise following a milder winter and a conservative hunting season last year. This season will again be a conservative one, which means fewer antlerless deer permits were issued. Harvesting fewer does allows deer populations to grow and helps provide more opportunity in the future.
Here are some other reminders from the DNR for the Minnesota firearms deer season.
The DNR strongly advises hunters to review new deer hunting regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes. Current and up-to-date information is available at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.
With nearly 500,000 firearms deer hunters in the state, the DNR encourages hunters to purchase their licenses early to avoid long lines and any potential system issues associated with the high sales volume. A list of DNR license agents across Minnesota can be found at www.mndnr.gov/licenses/agents.html.
Changes in 2015 affect when licenses are valid if purchased after a season is open. A deer hunting license purchased after a season is open is valid the same day of purchase if purchased prior to the beginning of legal shooting hours. If the license is purchased after legal shooting hours have begun, then the license is valid the following day.
Deer must be registered within 48 hours after the deer was taken, before being processed and before antlers are removed. Hunters can register deer they harvest by making a telephone call, using the Internet or bringing deer to a big-game registration station. Hunters need to provide accurate information when registering. It is a violation to register a deer as taken in a permit area different from where it was actually taken. Registration instructions for all methods are available at www.mndnr.gov/gameregistrationhelp. Registration is important because it provides harvest data used for management of deer populations.
The 2015 season will be the second year of a management approach to rebuild deer populations in areas below population goals. The DNR is projecting the 2015 total harvest to be between 140,000 to 155,000 deer. The 2014 total harvest after last year’s conservative season was just over 139,000. More information on deer management can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deer.
Stoke the digital campfire
Do you have Minnesota deer camp photos or stories to share? Don’t forget to tag them with #DeerCampMN on Twitter or #DeerCampMN on Facebook. Also check out #MNDeerOpener, which will include some from the festivities in Mountain Iron at the 2015 Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener. Catch up with Minnesota Wildlife on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mnwildlife or Minnesota Wildlife on Twitter, @mn_wildlife.