Jay Cooke State Park will be closed Dec. 4-8 to all visitors outside of the campground, office area, River Inn area and the Munger Trail during a special muzzleloader hunt to prevent overpopulation of deer and protect resources, according to a news release from the Minnesota DNR..

The Swinging Bridge will remain accessible to visitors, but people should not access any areas south of the bridge. All hiking trails will be closed. Visitors are advised to wear blaze orange or brightly colored clothing if they will be in the park while the hunt is in progress.

Visitors should also check for hunt-related information on the park website and at the park office, if open, upon arrival. All visitors should follow any hunt-related signage posted in the park.

In addition, hunts will take place at other Minnesota state parks and recreation areas this fall, and access to the parks will vary. Some will remain open to all visitors, some will have limited public access and some will be open only to hunters with special permits. The deadlines have passed for youth and adults to apply for the permit to participate in the hunts, which include regular firearms, muzzleloader and archery options, the news release said.

The DNR periodically allows deer hunts as a way to protect natural resources.

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“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, a natural resource program coordinator with DNR’s division of parks and trails. “When there are too many deer in a park, they feed too much on certain trees and native plants, so occasionally we allow deer hunts as a way to protect natural resources.”

For a list of parks and recreation areas that are open, partially open or closed during the 2021 hunting season, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/hunting.html or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or call 888-646-6367.