Firearms deer season opens November 4
Additional deer hunting opportunities will be available this fall thanks to a series of mild winters and conservative hunting regulations, which have resulted in rebounding deer populations across Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“Deer populations have responded well to favorable winter weather and our efforts to rebuild deer numbers, and we have been able to expand harvest opportunities in almost all areas of the state this fall,” said Adam Murkowski, big game program leader for the DNR.
Every year harvest regulations are reviewed, taking a wide variety of information into consideration. Department scientists use the previous year’s harvest data, winter severity information, aerial survey information, where available, and other information to estimate late winter deer abundance in each permit area. These estimates are compared to established population goals for each area and along with observation from DNR area wildlife managers, hunters, farmers, foresters and others, form the basis for final season recommendations.
The regulations for each of Minnesota’s deer permit areas are set to manage deer populations toward goals established for each area.
There are 130 permit areas in 2017. In one deer permit area only bucks can be hunted (down from five areas last season). In 48 areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to harvest an antlerless deer (down from 67 areas). In 38 areas, hunters have the choice of harvesting a doe or a buck (up from 32 areas). Bonus permits allowing hunters to harvest more than one deer may only be used in 43 permit areas and for some special hunts (up from 24 areas).
Buying a license
All hunters who purchased licenses by September 7 were automatically entered into the lottery if they declared a lottery deer permit area when they bought their license. Those who do not wish to harvest an antlerless deer were encouraged to purchase their license after the lottery deadline.
Deer hunting licenses and special hunt applications are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-646-6367 or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.
Permit area breakdown
The following is a breakdown of 2017 deer permit areas. A hunter may tag one legal buck per year, without exception. In southeastern Minnesota’s 300 series permit areas, these designations apply to both early and late – A and B – seasons.
Only male deer with one antler at least three inches long may be harvested in the bucks-only permit area 119.
Hunters must be selected in the lottery to harvest an antlerless deer in these lottery permit areas: 103, 108, 111, 126, 132, 152, 159, 169, 173, 176, 178, 181, 183, 197, 199, 224, 234, 235, 237, 238, 250, 251, 252, 253, 262, 266, 269, 270, 271, 272, 274, 275, 278, 279, 280, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 291, 294, 295, 296, 297 and 299.
Hunters can choose to shoot a single buck or single antlerless deer in these hunter-choice permit areas: 101, 105, 110, 114, 117, 118, 130, 131, 133, 155, 156, 171, 172, 177, 179, 184, 203, 208, 219, 221, 222, 223, 230, 239, 246, 247, 249, 254, 258, 260, 273, 277, 281, 290, 298, 338, 339 and 344.
Hunters may harvest two deer, only one of which may be a buck, in these managed permit areas: 157, 201, 209, 210, 213, 218, 225, 227, 229, 232, 233, 236, 240, 242, 248, 255, 256, 257, 259, 261, 263, 264, 265, 267, 268, 276, 292, 293, 341, 342, 343, 345 and 347.
Hunters may harvest up to three deer, only one of which may be a buck, in these intensive permit areas: 182, 214, 215, 241, 287 (no archery hunting), 346, 348 and 349. This is a change from previous years when up to five deer could be taken in intensive harvest permit areas.
Deer permit areas 346, 348, 349 and 603 are open for the early antlerless-only hunt in October.
Chronic wasting disease
The discovery of deer infected with chronic wasting disease that were raised in captivity on farms in Crow Wing and Meeker counties means that wild deer harvested from permit areas surrounding those farms will be tested for CWD this fall during the first two days of the firearms deer season. Those areas are:
North central (Crow Wing County area): Permit areas 155, 171, 172, 242, 246, 247, 248 and 249.
Central (Meeker County area): Permit areas 218, 219, 229, 277, 283 and 285.
Wild deer in these areas are not known to have CWD. Testing will determine if the disease has spread.
Testing also will be mandatory during the first two days of the firearm season in permit areas surrounding the disease management zone in southeastern Minnesota. Those areas are 343, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349.
Hunters who harvest deer outside the state are reminded that they cannot bring whole carcasses of any member of the deer family into Minnesota. These animals include but are not limited to white-tail deer, mule deer, black-tail deer, elk, caribou and moose. More information is available at mndnr.gov/deerimports.
Review hunting regulations
Hunters need to review new deer hunting regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes. Regularly updated deer information, including the DNR’s deer permit mapping tool, can be found online at mndnr.gov/deer.