2009 deer season forecast for northern St. Louis and Lake CountiesThe Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Office in Tower is forecasting a reduced deer population for northern St. Louis and Lake Counties.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Office in
Tower is forecasting a reduced deer population for northern St. Louis
and Lake Counties. Wildlife managers report a smaller deer herd and
“lottery” drawings for either-sex permits in six out of seven
deer permit areas in our area.
The local deer herd has been thinned by two consecutive
moderately-severe winters, and by predators and aggressive antlerless
deer harvest during the past five years. Fawn production has been
reduced. Most units now are at or slightly below population goals set
for each permit area in 2005. The DNR has achieved the designated
population levels in this area.
The 16-day season in northeastern Minnesota will straddle the peak of
the annual white-tail breeding period. Hunters should see good deer
movement as the annual rutting season progresses.
Hunters will find wet field conditions following eight-plus inches of
rain in August, September and October, compared with last summer. Swamps
and wetlands are wet, after being bone dry.
Liberal antlerless regulations have produced the five all-time highest
deer harvests in the past six years. Last year marked the third
consecutive year that antlerless harvest topped buck harvest in our
Winters are the biggest factor in increasing or decreasing deer
populations in the area. Most local areas are showing population
reduction. Overall, the deer population has trended downward to goal
levels during the last two to three years.
Tower Area Deer Harvest Summary
YEAR BUCKS ANTLERLESS TOTAL
2008 4,400 4,922 9,322
2007 5,717 5,751 11,468
2006 5,198 5,476 10,674
2005 5,041 3,983 9,024
2004 5,772 4,315 10,087
5-Yr AVG 5,225 4,889 10,115
Managed permit areas (two-deer bag limit)
Hunters can harvest a buck or antlerless deer plus one bonus deer in
deer permit area 178, which is south of the Iron Range. Deer permit area
178 is the only permit area still above population goals. It has the
highest deer population in the area, so the most liberal regulations.
Bonus permits, which can be purchased over the counter for $13, can only
be used in deer permit areas designated as managed or intensive.
Lottery permit areas (one-deer bag limit)
Deer permit areas 175 (north of the Iron Range), 115 (Lake Vermilion
area), 116 (north and east of Ely), 107 (west of Cook, Orr and
Kabetogama), 122 (east of Hoyt Lakes and Whiteface), 127 (Isabella area)
and 168 (west of Minnesota Highway 65 in Itasca County) are designated
as lottery areas, which means that harvesting an antlerless deer is
limited to hunters who entered and were selected in the lottery. All
other hunters may only harvest a buck. Either-sex permits awarded in the
lottery can only be used in the permit area for which they were issued.
Intensive permit areas (five-deer bag limit)
There are no intensive permit areas in northern St. Louis County or
Lake County in 2009.
Buck bag limit
A hunter may only harvest one adult buck statewide, regardless of how
many deer permit areas are hunted or the number licenses or bonus tags
The 2009 firearms deer season will start as bucks enter the chasing
phase of the whitetail rut. Rutting activity should be good by opening
weekend. Buck movement generally peaks between Nov. 5 and Nov. 15.
Hunters can expect to see increased rutting activity as the season
Hunters will find field conditions wet following a damp September and
October. Swamps, creeks, rivers, lakes and wetlands have received
significant precipitation in the last eight weeks. The DNR advises
hunters to plan ahead because normal ATV and vehicle travel may not be
practical. Hunters may need to prepare for alternate access plans to
stands, hunting areas and for deer retrieval. Some roads and trails are
in tough driving condition and will get worse with additional rain. It
is illegal to drive on or damage these wetland areas.
Baiting deer or hunting deer in the vicinity of bait is illegal
statewide on private and public land.
Share the harvest
Hunters are encouraged to share venison with others. Donating venison
to non-hunters enables hunters to take additional antlerless deer and
provide inexpensive meat to non-hunting friends and family. Minnesota
also has a venison donation program, which allows hunters to donate deer
to an authorized processor at no cost so venison can be donated to a