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Department of Natural Resources anticipates good deer hunting season

With firearms hunting season having begun on November 3, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) anticipates a good season.

"Minnesota's deer population is up from last year, in part, because of the mild winter," said Lou Cornicelli, the DNR's wildlife research manager. "Mild winters result in more survival of adults, more fawns being born, and more deer in the state's fields and forests the following hunting season." He estimated the deer population to be at about 1 million.

Cornicelli said one difference between this and last year is there are fewer areas where hunters can harvest more than one deer. This change, he said, reflects the agency's interest in rebuilding or maintaining the deer herd in certain portions of the state by managing the harvest.

Last year, Minnesota's nearly 500,000 deer hunters harvested 192,300 deer. The highest deer harvest occurred in 2003 when 270,000 deer were taken as part of an effort to reduce the deer herd. Today, the DNR manages the deer population based on goals established with public input.

The firearms deer season concludes in northern Minnesota on Sunday, November 18 and in all other parts of the state on Sunday, November 11.