Here's what the DNR's 200,000 deer harvest goal means

The new guidelines were issued on Monday.
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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is planning an annual statewide deer harvest target of 200,000 under a new guidelines published on Monday.

The target number will become a benchmark that determines management of deer populations across Minnesota for the next 10 years, which could have future implications for hunters.

So what does this mean? 

Well basically, if at the end of deer hunting season, hunters have registered fewer than 200,000 deer, it could suggest deer populations are struggling and as a result more "conservative regulations" are needed to rebuild numbers.

However, if more than 200,000 are taken, it suggests that populations are flourishing and as a result hunting regulations can be loosened.

Last year's deer haul was expected to be around 200,000, though a year earlier it was only around 175,000.

Knowing its importance to hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans, landowners and businesses with a stake in deer hunting, the DNR says it is seeking to be more open about its deer management plans going forward.

It'll be holding 35 open houses across the state over the coming few weeks as it seeks feedback on the plan.

You can also comment here on the DNR website.

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DNR: Deer harvest down seven percent in 2011

The Department of Natural Resources says the decline is a result of a smaller deer population and a windy opening weekend of the firearms season. Minnesota deer hunters harvested 192,300 deer during the 2011 season. That's 15,000 fewer deer than in 2010. The 2012 deer hunting season begins in September.