2014 deer hunting rules aimed at rebuilding Minnesota's herd

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Minnesota hunters will be under strict limits this fall, as wildlife managers seek to replenish the state's whitetail deer population.

As the Associated Press reports, the Department of Natural Resources says it took a conservative approach in setting regulations for the 2014 deer hunting season.

In 95 percent of Minnesota, hunters will be allowed to take only one deer. In some places only bucks, not does, may be killed.

In announcing the 2014 regulations, the DNR noted that hunters have reported in recent years they're seeing fewer deer.

The AP says last year hunters killed 171,000 Minnesota deer, which was the lowest total since 1998.

It's likely the heavy snow and bitter cold of this past winter further depleted the state's herd. The DNR initially resisted calls from the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association to approve the feeding of deer to help them survive the winter. But the agency later relented and by early spring volunteers had distributed more than 520 tons of feed.

The leader of the DNR's big game program, Leslie McInenly answers questions about the 2014 regulations in a video posted to YouTube:

The biggest change this fall will be the lack of permits for antlerless deer in northeastern Minnesota.

The Duluth News Tribune reports this is the first year since 1997 to see a widespread bucks-only regulation.

Minnesota has 128 deer permit areas. In 14 of them only bucks can be legally shot this fall. In 69 others hunters may enter a lottery that will award a limited number of permits for antlerless deer.

Applications for those lotteries may be submitted from Aug. 1 through Sep. 4. The firearm deer hunting season opens on Nov. 8.

The DNR provides more specifics about the 2014 hunt here. You can purchase a hunting license here.

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