5 things to know as we approach deer hunting season


The firearms deer season is about a month away, and the state agency in charge of regulating the animal population is giving hunters a heads-up.

The DNR outlined some what-to-expect information this week, talking about goals for the deer population and how it will affect hunters.

The archery season opened Sept. 19. The firearms season for 1A, 2A and 3A begins Nov. 7. (Click here to see the full schedule.)

Here are five things to remember from the DNR's look-ahead.

You'll probably see more deer!

The DNR says – after a kind-of-mild winter and conservative deer hunting season last winter – you'll probably see more of the animals out on the landscape here (during the archery season, and while scouting before the Nov. 7 firearms opener).

“This year, they may see deer they can’t shoot, but this helps provide more opportunity in the future," said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations program manager.

But there's still (mostly) a 1-deer limit ...

For most of the state, anyway, during firearms season. It's being billed as another "management approach" to help rebuild the deer population.

There are a few spots with a two-deer limit, and in far southeastern Minnesota you can actually harvest up to five. See details on the map above (click to enlarge).

29 special hunts planned

There are opportunities to harvest more deer through some of the 29 special hunts on the schedule.

For example in the city of Grand Rapids, there's a bag limit of five from Nov. 7-22, with an unlimited number of licenses available. The goal is to reduce the number of city deer, the DNR says.

Each of these special hunts requires additional permits, so make sure to check the contact list for information.

A youth deer season

From Oct. 15-18, youths (ages 10-15) can hunt with an adult mentor in select permit areas. (Click here to see them.) No application is required, and there's no limit on the number of participants.

Expected harvest: A bit higher than last year

The DNR says the projected harvest will be 140,000-155,000 deer – just a smidgen above last winter, which came in under 140,000.

Why the limits? It's essentially because hunters said they weren't seeing enough deer. So the DNR has kept harvests low in an effort to build up the population. Check out the map above for population goals compared to 2014.

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