The rules for this year's Minnesota deer hunting season have been released – and officials are warning hunters it will be another conservative one to allow numbers to "rebuild."
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said in a news release that one-deer limits will remain in place for most of the state when the firearms season gets underway on Nov. 7, with exceptions mainly found in central, east-central and southeast Minnesota.
In 70 of the 128 deer permit areas, hunters will be chosen in a lottery to shoot an antlerless deer; only bucks can be hunted in 14 areas; and in 29 areas hunters have the choice of shooting a doe or a buck.
Bonus permits allowing hunters to shoot more than one deer will be available in 11 areas and for some special hunts, whiler in the southwestern areas the DNR is restricting antlerless hunting to youth hunters only.
You can find out more information about this year's regulations, including permit areas, on the DNR's deer hunting page.
Deer licenses go on sale this Saturday, when the DNR will also be taking applications for the lottery to shoot antlerless deer, the deadline for which is Sept 10.
It marks a second consecutive year of strict deer hunting regulations which followed a bumper harvest in the 2013 season, and there are signs that the state's deer population is responding to the limits.
Surveys have found that deer numbers are up in all parts of the state; the mild winter and the low number of antlerless permits meant more does and fawns in the wild, while the early spring and summer rainfall gave them plenty to eat.
"Given the mild winter for most of the state and reduced harvest last year, we anticipate that hunters will be seeing more deer when afield, and we are already hearing from people that they are seeing more deer this summer," Leslie McInenly, the DNR's big-game program leader, said. "We are continuing a conservative harvest approach in order to raise deer numbers consistent with our recent goal-setting process."
You can apply for licenses and lotteries by calling the DNR on 888-665-4236, or by visiting the DNR website here. Lottery winners will be notified in October.