DNR reduces deer hunting limits in permit areasHunters across Northeastern Minnesota will see reduced limits for deer in most permit areas this fall.
Hunters across Northeastern Minnesota will see reduced limits for deer in most permit areas this fall. After a decreased deer harvest last fall and a harsher winter than some in recent years, Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials have become more conservative in issuing permits for antlerless deer.
“Last year, we saw a general reduction in the deer harvest, and we followed that with a harsher winter than we’ve seen in a number of years,” said Jeff Lightfoot, DNR regional wildlife manager at Grand Rapids. “We’re backing the pressure off and in some cases, because of the winter, we’ve dropped below the population goals in the lottery permit areas. It’s an attempt to get back to that [goal] number determined by the public process.”
Deer population goals for permit areas were determined after broad public input about four years ago.
This fall, 10 deer permit areas across Northeastern Minnesota have been designated “lottery” units, meaning hunters will have to apply by Sept. 10 in a lottery for permits to harvest antlerless deer. Last fall, just one unit in Northeastern Minnesota was designated a “lottery” unit.
Last year, 10 permit areas in Northeastern Minnesota were designated as “managed,” meaning hunters could take up to two deer. This year, 16 areas are designated “managed.”
Last fall, there were 17 permit areas in Northeastern Minnesota designated for “intensive” harvest, allowing hunters up to five deer. This year, there are three of those areas in Northeastern Minnesota.
That means hunters, when buying their deer licenses this fall, should carefully check the new deer-zones map. Most hunters will find that the permit area in which they hunt will have a different harvest designation than it did last year.
Hunters who hunt in permit areas 104, 107, 115, 116, 122, 127, 175, 174, 154 and 183 will have to apply for antlerless deer permits by Sept. 10 for a chance to get one of those permits.
“Hunters can get used to seeing us walking that tightrope between too many deer to too few from a hunter’s perspective,” Lightfoot said.
In another change, muzzleloader hunters must apply for an either-sex permit by Sept. 10 if they want to have a chance to harvest an antlerless deer in a lottery permit area. In previous years, muzzleloader hunters who did not purchase a regular firearms license could take an antlerless deer in a lottery area without a permit. This year, even people who only hunt the muzzleloader season must apply for an either-sex permit.