Deer advisory committee

The DNR's deer advisory committee was created as part of the 2019-2028 Minnesota White-tailed Deer Management Plan to enhance two-way dialogue with stakeholders on specific deer management topics.

Updates on the committee and its actions, including upcoming meeting dates and topics discussed, will be available on this page.

Information

The committee's members represent varied interests in deer hunting and conservation, farming, urban deer issues and forest management across the state. It will be evaluated annually and operate for the duration of the deer plan, through 2028, unless it is suspended for reasons defined in its charter.

The committee will:

  • Represent the breadth of deer management interests;
  • Learn about and contribute to understanding biological, social and economic aspects of deer management, including stakeholder group perspectives (excluding population goal setting);
  • Identify and inform DNR of significant deer management issues;
  • Facilitate dialogue between the public and DNR regarding issues;
  • Advise DNR on potential approaches to respond to issues; and
  • Advise on effective and publicly acceptable deer policies, research and monitoring priorities, programs and regulations.

Each committee member will serve a three-year term. The committee will meet quarterly each year, with the first meeting set to occur in summer 2019. 

Additional details about the committee are available in the Deer Advisory Committee Charter.

Members

Dllona Clendenen

Photo of Dllona ClendenenRepresents: Public

Lives: St. Paul

About: My parents, who supported and valued nature throughout their lives, instilled in me a passion for nature.

I have an undergraduate degree in english and a master's in business. In my careers of insurance, construction and finance, I have seen the impact of nature on man as well as man's impact on nature. As an educational leader, I know the value of information to transform people's lives.

Receiving my certification as a Minnesota master naturalist and volunteering at Warner Nature Center near Marine On St. Croix has led me on the path of advocating for all of nature. To serve on this committee is an opportunity to contribute to Minnesota, the balance of nature and help protect our deer populations in a responsible manner.

Josh Doty

Photo of Josh DotyRepresents: City of Baxter

Lives: Baxter

About: I serve as the community development director for the city of Baxter, where I am responsible for the administration of planning, zoning, building permitting and parks planning and help administer Baxter’s deer management regulations.

I have served in this role for nearly six years. I was born and raised in Little Falls and attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources, where I earned a degree in land use planning with a minor in soils science. Previous to Baxter, I spent the majority of my professional career at the city of Plymouth, where I moved up the ranks within their planning department.

I always have worked for actively developing cities; therefore, a focus of my career has been working with many different types of development while maintaining a focus on my background in natural resources. My passion is to help foster quality community growth.

Outside of work, I love spending time with my family. I am passionate about nature and water and my hobbies match. One of my favorite things to do is to manage my property in the Pequot Lakes area for whitetail deer, ruffed grouse and other wildlife. I also enjoy fishing, boating, camping, gardening, nature photography and sports.

Nate Eide

Photo of Nate EideRepresents: Minnesota Association of County Land Commissioners

Lives: Two Harbors

About: Deer always have held a special place in my life. As a kid, I lived for the deer hunting season with my dad, uncles and grandpas. Just this winter I had the enormous joy helping my 10-year-old son shoot his first deer during the special chronic wasting disease hunt in southeastern Minnesota.

Professionally, deer are a component of the 160,000 acres of forest my department is charged with managing. We have a responsibility to provide healthy habitat for deer as well as other wildlife including moose.

I enjoy thinking about deer management because it touches so many areas of my life both personally and professionally. My vision for deer management is to have a healthy deer herd along with healthy habitat. Having both healthy deer and habitat is the best for Minnesota as it provides sustainability for hunters as well as habitat.

Craig Engwall

Photo of Craig EngwallRepresents: Minnesota Deer Hunters Association

Lives: Grand Rapids

About: I live in Dora Lake at the place that has served as my family's deer camp for almost 70 years. My roots run deep in Minnesota, with family ties to both Duluth and Winthrop.

I have pursued my passion for the outdoors in both my personal and professional life and have worked on natural resource issues at both the state and federal levels. I also was involved in Minnesota acquiring the largest conservation easement in state history – the nearly 200,000-acre Blandin project that protects forest lands from parcelization while providing key habitat and public access to those lands.

As a life-long deer hunter, I am happy to serve as the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association's executive director, a job that allows me to put my personal interests and professional experiences to work on behalf of Minnesota's deer habitat and deer hunters.

Duane Fogard

Represents: American Bird Conservancy

Lives: Saginaw

About: I have been interested in deer and deer hunting almost my entire life. Additionally, I have lived and worked in the forest of northeastern Minnesota for nearly 25 years.

During that time, I have been involved with many aspects of forestry, the forest products industry and wildlife conservation.

I am interested in deer management for many reasons but mainly because deer browsing has a major impact on the plants growing in the forest. Forest wildlife – including deer – depend on those plants for food and cover.

Luke Freund

Photo of Luke FreundRepresents: Public

Lives: Mantorville

About: I am an avid outdoorsman from Mantorville, a small town in southeastern Minnesota's Dodge County, and enjoy all aspects of the outdoors – hunting, fishing and camping.

As a frequent traveler to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, I appreciate Minnesota's outdoor opportunities. I live on a 25-acre woodland and take pride in providing quality habitat for all wildlife.

I strive to improve the perception of hunting in an ethical and legal light and am looking forward to serving on the deer advisory committee based on my love for the outdoors, passion for hunting tradition and concern for the health of our deer herd.

Glen Groth

Photo of Glen GrothRepresents: Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation

Lives: Houston

About: My family and I operate a crop and livestock farm north of Houston in southeastern Minnesota. I am involved many organizations in the agricultural community and enjoy speaking on behalf of farmers.

I am interested in deer management because my farm has been impacted by high deer densities on the land surrounding my fields. I am very interested in finding solutions that reduce the impact of high deer populations on the area's farmers while still preserving the hunting tradition that many of my neighbors and friends enjoy.

Roland Hill

Photo of Roland HillRepresents: Public

Lives: Aitkin

About: I am a proudly enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, splitting my whitetail passion between my family-owned and managed land in Aitkin and the Red Lake Reservation.

I started hunting with my father, Simon Hill, at the age of 12 near Palisade when seeing deer was a success. In addition, my outdoor passion was energized by hunting waterfowl, deer and moose with my father in the 70s in Red Lake.

When not enjoying the outdoors, I am a public relations and business consultant with an emphasis on business networking, marketing, education and building bridges between tribal and non-tribal communities.

I am deeply concerned about the current infancy of chronic wasting disease in the state and support strong biological management of the herd, rather than individual social factors.

I have been married to my wife, Kay, for 28 years. We are proud parents of sons Kylan, a Minnesota DNR conservation officer, and Kinzer, an environmental studies graduate currently working in the ecological and water resources division of the Minnesota DNR.

Josh Hoadley

Photo of Josh HoadleyRepresents: Public

Lives: Pelican Rapids

About: I was born and raised in Minnesota and am currently raising my family here in Minnesota. Since I was able to walk, my dad has taught me about hunting, fishing and trapping. Now, I am passing on what I learned from him plus a few thing I picked up on to my own to my children.

This last hunting season I had my best hunting memory to date. My 11–year-old daughter, who has been working so hard the last two years, was able to harvest a beautiful, mature, whitetail doe with her bow on our property.

I want to serve on the deer advisory committee to not only show my perspective on deer management, but everyone's. There is no one correct answer that is going to solve it, but we can work together to find the best.

I am not a stakeholder or a member of any group. I'm just a hunter who wants to make sure that we have a good quality managed deer herd for the next several generations.

Spencer Kor

Photo of Spencer KorRepresents: Lyon County Parks

Lives: Lynd

About: I grew up on the north side of Camden Park in Lynd, which always has been an excellent refuge for whitetail deer. From there I found my love of the outdoors and eventually decided I would like to work in the parks.

I attended South Dakota State University for parks and recreation management and was eventually employed at Lyon County Parks, which has a very similar setting to that of Camden Park. We manage deer in Garvin Park and on our own properties.

I am a taxidermist, a hunter and also enjoy simply observing the beauty of white-tailed deer.

Meadow Kouffeld

Photo of Meadow KouffeldRepresents: Public

Lives: Grand Rapids

About: As a lifelong outdoorswoman based in Grand Rapids, deer hunting and eating venison is something that has been an important part of my life from a very young age.

I hold a master of science in wildlife ecology and management from the University of Minnesota, am a natural resources instructor at Itasca Community College and chair of the Minnesota R3 (recruit, retain, reactivate) Council.

I am an active big game and upland hunter, angler and wild foods forager. My professional and personal interests reflect my dedication to wildlife conservation.

I am serving on the deer committee with intention to represent the deer hunters of Minnesota, their sporting traditions and to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of Minnesota's deer herd – one of our greatest natural resources.

Vicki MacGlover

Represents: Public

Lives: Becker

About: I live in Becker, Minnesota, but grew up on the family farm in Ham Lake, Minnesota. I also spend a significant amount of time on a family farm in Palisade, Minnesota. I served 17 years in the military as an entomologist and went on to get a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from St. Cloud State University. I am an avid outdoorswoman, and am passionate about hunting big game, as well as upland game birds.  

I believe hunting is an important part of our family traditions in Minnesota. More importantly, however, I believe our herd health is at risk if proper management techniques are not applied, and having citizens help to monitor our herds, and the overall health, will prove to be beneficial. My vision for deer management in Minnesota would be to have healthy herds, high hunter success, high fawn recruitment, quality deer management and satisfactory predator management. 

Jim Manolis

Photo of Jim ManolisRepresents: The Nature Conservancy

Lives: Minneapolis

About: I am the Forest Program Director for the Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The program uses a mix of public and private funding to restore the health and resilience of forests in Minnesota, primarily in the northeast and north central parts of the state. I have worked in forest research, conservation, management and policy realms for more than 25 years. As an avid outdoorsperson, I enjoy birding, camping, Nordic skiing, fishing and photography, and added deer hunting to the list about 10 years ago. I received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota, where my studies focused on forest birds. I believe that careful, science-based management of deer in Minnesota is very important for forest health, public safety and recreational interests. 

Benjamin Pena

Represents: Minnesota Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Lives: Minneapolis

Polly Rixe

Represents: Public

Lives: Stacy

About: I have more than 15 years of experience as a wildlife rehabilitator on my 18-acre hobby farm and hold a master class wildlife rehabilitation permit with fawn variance as well as a federal permit from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

I have been and continue to be a member of the National Wildlife Rehabilitator's Association, MN-ADC and MACA. I also work as a business analyst and have five children.

My desire to be part of the deer advisory committee stems from my passion for fawn rehabilitation. While rehabilitation focuses on saving individual deer, understanding deer management is very important for the larger picture in maintaining a healthy population of all Minnesota deer.

Kathleen Shea

Photo of Kathleen SheaRepresents: St. Olaf College

Lives: Northfield

About: My interest in being on the deer advisory committee stems from my position as professor of biology and environmental studies, as well as curator of natural lands, at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

Originally from Colorado, I came to St. Olaf in 1985 and teach various ecology courses on and off-campus in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Australia. I am a plant ecologist by training and have learned that we need to consider all organisms in ecosystem management.

I oversee management and educational use of 350 acres of restored forest, prairie and wetland habitat. While no hunting is allowed on St. Olaf property, having a healthy deer population is of interest from multiple perspectives.

People utilizing the trails through the natural areas enjoy seeing wildlife such as deer but deer affect the growth of trees and other plants; may increase the risk of transmission of diseases, such as Lyme disease; and increase the risk of accidents on highways.

Discussion of deer biology and management is of interest to our students in biology and environmental studies classes. Many of these students are interested in careers in conservation.

Through my work on the committee, I hope to help maintain a balance among the multiple interests in deer management.

Jeremy Schmit

Represents: Bluffland Whitetails Association

Lives: Plainview

About: I am lifelong outdoors enthusiast and have enjoyed hunting deer in southeastern Minnesota with my family since my early teens. I am from Plainview and spend a lot of my free time at my family's farm in Wabasha County.

Since I was young, I was taught to be a good steward of the land and the importance of the conservation of resources to ensure they are sustainable for future generations. Over my life of enjoying outdoors activities, I have found deer hunting and the management of the species as one of my favorite passions.

During that time, I’ve seen several changes. In my opinion, some were good and some were questionable, but I still see room for future improvement.

In seeing these changes I started looking outside of what I consider my family's little slice of heaven and began getting involved by attending regional meetings on deer and deer management. Through those regional meetings, I met some great and like-minded people on everything deer related.

I became a member of the Bluffland Whitetails Association, which is a nonprofit group of hunters, landowners and wildlife professionals committed to improving white-tailed deer management through education, research and cooperative action. We believe deer management strategies based on an accurate assessment of today's herd and sound scientific research will lead to a healthier, better balanced herd, without reducing hunter opportunities.

p>

With the ever-changing and adapting hunting world/industry we live in, I think we need to be in the mindset that if we are not evolving, advancing or improving our methods we not only fail the resource, but we also hurt the enjoyment of our hunting heritage of future generations.

When the opportunity to apply to serve on a new deer advisory committee arose, I saw a great opportunity to be further engaged with one of my favorite interests and be a good representative of Minnesota outdoorsmen and the deer hunting community.

Ted Wawrzyniak

Photo of Ted WawrzyniakRepresents: Quality Deer Management Association

Lives: Rosemount

About: I am currently the Quality Deer Management Association Minnesota State Chapter president. I have been involved with QDMA in Minnesota in some sort of leadership capacity since 2001 and have been active in educating hunters and advocating for better deer hunting at the state level.

I currently live in Rosemount. I was born and raised in the northwestern part of the state near Newfolden and still own land and hunt on the farm on which I was raised. I also spend a significant amount of time hunting in the southeastern part of the state.

Because of my love for deer hunting and my interest in deer management, I am passionate about helping to improve deer hunting for today's deer hunter as well as future generations of deer hunters.

I have a bachelor's degree in wildlife biology, and I feel that my education and passion for deer hunting will allow me to make a significant impact on the deer advisory committee.

Meetings

January 19, 2022

Barb Keller, Big Game Program Leader gave an overview of harvest from all seasons compared to 2020, 5-year, and 10-year means. Todd Froberg, Big Game Program Coordinator gave an overview of upcoming planned winter CWD management activities.

Barb led a discussion regarding season structures, starting chronologically from archery to muzzleloader, how those seasons are structured, how they relate to other states, and the most common questions or suggestions for season changes or additions. Further, additional discussion surrounding changes to season structures and licenses were proposed to the DAC for their comments.

Adam Landon, Human Dimensions Research Scientist previewed the hunter satisfaction survey that is being developed. Further, Adam went into more details regarding questions related specifically to concerns or comments most raised by hunters including; delaying the firearms opener, options for taking additional bucks, and attitudes towards a statewide ban on feeding and attractants.

December 15, 2021

Barb Keller, Big Game Program Leader gave an update on harvest. Harvest from after firearms season was down 7% but comparable to the 5 and 10-year mean, Archery harvest was down 20% compared to 2020, youth harvest had a very modest gain from last year, and muzzleloader harvest was down 2%. Todd Froberg, Acting Big Game Program Coordinator gave an overview of CWD surveillance and outlined planned upcoming winter activities related to CWD management including late hunts, landowner shooting permits, and agency culling.

>Barb, went over the deer goal setting process that will take place in 4 areas of the state this year, including the moose range and several CWD area DPAs. Those 4 areas include the Superior Uplands Arrowhead goal block, North Central Plains Moraines goal block, Pine Moraines goal block, and Blufflands Plateau goal block.

October 13, 2021

Kelly Straka, Wildlife Section leader was introduced, she gave an overview of her career and goals for the MN DNR and answered questions from the DAC.

Barb Keller, Big Game Program Leader provided a presentation on moose and deer trade-offs that outlined the historical moose distribution, current population status of moose in northeast Minnesota, and possible contributing factors to the decline of moose in Minnesota.

Barb continued with a deer program update that included the latest on known and suspected epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) around the state. The harvest around the state has seen a 30% decrease to-date but similar to the 5 and 10-year trends. There is currently 1 confirmed case of CWD in DPA 645 and 2 suspected cases in DPA 646 awaiting IHC confirmation. August deer open houses had very low attendance and DAC is suggesting more social media efforts for deer open houses and DAC did not oppose not having an in person option for deer open houses.

Todd Froberg, Acting Big Game Program Coordinator gave an overview of DNR’s approach to the newly formed concurrent WTD management team.

August 18, 2021

Eric Nelson, Wildlife Damage Program Supervisor provided an overview of the deer depredation program, particularly mitigation and removal efforts. Additionally, he discussed how the changing of the Agricultural industry and land use practices - including more recreational properties. An overview of the common types of producers and participators in the program was given, including; fruit and vegetable growers, row crop farmers, dairy and cattle farmers, forest resources, and haying operations. The current year drought conditions are having an effect on wildlife and may increase depredation this year.

Barb Keller, Big Game Program Leader gave an update on deer related topics including a legislative recap - some items of interest not included in the omnibus bill were the blaze orange requirement on ground blinds and no change to the shotgun/rifle boundary. Items that were included in the omnibus bill were a wildlife decoy loophole closure, the allowance of crossbows during the youth and early antlerless seasons with a firearms permit, and concurrent authority of WTD farm management for the Board of Animal Health and DNR. Updates on the expansion of the feeding ban, changes to the upcoming deer open houses, and various other topics surrounding the CWD detection in a Beltrami County deer farm.

Liz Scherber, Policy and Planning reviewed the past year of the Deer Advisory Committee, including results of a survey that members took. DAC members’ preferences included in-person meetings, more regulation, policy changes and research updates and less of guest speakers and CWD updates.

April 28, 2021

Pat Rivers, Deputy Director updated the committee on the legislative session. He indicated both house and senate bills made it into the conference committee, but had differences in the bills. Deer related topics included leaving deer stands on WMAS overnight in Northwest MN, blaze orange identification on ground blinds, and closing a loophole allowing deer carcasses that are not hunter harvested to be transported throughout the state. The DNR presented a need for CWD related funding at the legislature. The removal of the shotgun/rifle boundary was not included in either bill.

Dustin Bronson, Research Scientist, from the USFS Northern Research Station presented on forest regeneration research from Wisconsin. His research assessed 16,000 sites using a variety of measures related to forest regeneration and deer browse. His research concluded that deer browse does not have a large impact on forest regeneration, and may be misleading to connect the two. Deer browse is not predicative of forest health or regeneration, but could be used as a secondary or tertiary assessment tool of deer populations.

Michelle Carstensen, Wildlife Health Group Leader gave a presentation on research about presence of neonicotinoids in deer in Minnesota. More research on this issue is planned into the future. Michelle also gave an update on CWD surveillance and results from 2020 management efforts and explained the intent of going back to mandatory sampling for opening weekends in 2021. DNR is also collaborating with the U of M to help with faster CWD testing technologies and diagnostics.

Barb Keller, Big Game Program Leader discussed a feeding ban update to include new counties due to a captive farm detection. DAC members were supportive of a statewide feeding ban since the current ban occupies most of the state. DNR is considering moving to a 5-deer bag limit in 600-series permit areas instead of the unlimited antlerless bag limit currently in place. This was also supported by DAC members.

January 14, 2021

Barb Keller, Big Game Program Leader gave an overview of the 2020 deer season harvest results, indicating increases in harvest for the early antlerless season, youth deer season, archery, firearms, and muzzleloader season. Pat Rivers, Deputy Director provided an overview of how policy changes occur for MN DNR within the MN legislature, including a timeline and how they are signed into law. Pat also provided a few topics the legislature is reviewing for the 2021 session. DAC discussed rule making process working with the Board of Animal Health and applauded Michelle Carstensen for her role related to CWD. Liz provided an overview of goal setting webpage and discussed changes to the process, DAC was supportive of the online approach and sharing through social media. Barb shared a CWD update presentation to members and will find a speaker for April about forest/deer browse impacts.

October 28, 2020

The committee welcomed a new member, Cinnsye Ly, following the resignation of Ku Thao. Barb provided an update on the deer program including slight increases in harvest numbers in archery and early antlerless season. License sales are expected to also increase (up 16% to date). Barb shared the DNR is doing voluntary sampling for chronic wasting disease and experiencing low compliance. The DNR is sampling the livers and muscle tissue of deer who may have been exposed to PFAS chemicals in Duluth and areas of the east metro after other agencies found the same chemicals in deer in Michigan and Wisconsin. The DNR is proposing changes to a few policies including a possible statewide deer feeding ban, a moratorium on deer rehabilitation, and data based changes to simplify the winter severity index. DAC members provided input in support of proposed changes with some notable concerns, including compliance with statewide feeding bans, impacts on other industries and public response. DAC members were supportive of the new online approach for deer population goal setting to replace public workshops.

August 19, 2020
Mike Larson, wildlife section manager, welcomed and thanked members for their involvement in DAC the last year. In a presentation, Eric Michel, ungulate research scientist, reviewed the elements of the Minnesota Deer Population Model, which the state uses to track deer population trends. Barb Keller, big game program leader, provided an update on the deer program, including voluntary sampling, changes to meat processor licensing requirements and potential backlogs that might affect hunters in the upcoming season. Members reviewed accomplishments for the last year and discussed future work plan topics.
June 24, 2020

Lindsey Shartell, forest habitat assessment biologist presented on forest habitat metrics and deer winter habitat. Matt Russell from the University of Minnesota Extension presented on the citizen-based forest monitoring project, Assessing Vegetation Impacts from Deer (AVID). Current results suggest that AVID trees with browse impacts grow much more slowly, and there could be an opportunity to pair that information with the deer populations/deer density and severe winters to better understand those impacts.

Barb Keller, big game program leader, shared an update on the Board of Animal Health’s investigation into captive deer farms where chronic wasting disease was detected, the expanded CWD response plan and the shift to voluntary sampling for the 2020 season. Members reviewed a variety of potential policy changes being considered by DNR Fish and Wildlife leadership.

February 18, 2020

DAC members discussed preferences for meeting days, times and locations. Barb Keller, big game program leader, presented harvest and license sales data from the 2019 season. Members reviewed an update that the DNR shared at the legislature on chronic wasting disease and the “Adopt a Dumpster” program. The presentation highlighted elements of the DNR’s approach to surveillance, expanded deer feeding ban, and partnerships with landowners for targeted culling. DNR staff began a conversation with DAC members on fawn rehabilitation and disease management concerns. DAC members shared that disease spread, non-complaint rehabbing and public perception are key factors to consider in any fawn rehabilitation decisions. Finally, DAC members provided input on the altered Deer Population Goal Setting workshop approach and did a trial run of the facilitated activity.

October 29, 2019

The DNR provided a deer season update, highlighting minimal impacts of the statewide youth season on harvest numbers and current planning for late season hunts to manage chronic wasting disease. Adam Landon, human dimensions scientist, gave a presentation about the use of surveys in human dimensions research, providing specific examples of how surveys are conducted to best represent public opinion and how results are used to make management and regulatory decisions. The DNR facilitated a conversation on the redesigned Deer Population Goal Setting approach and the challenges with public engagement, especially low attendance at Deer Open Houses. DAC continued a conversation from the previous meeting on public engagement, suggesting that moderated social media could help gather public input, as well as collecting valid email addresses to use in other types of outreach.

August 26, 2019

Fish and Wildlife Division Director Dave Olfelt and Commissioner Sarah Strommen welcomed the inaugural DAC members in a video message. DNR staff discussed logistics and attendance expectations, reviewed a draft work plan and finalized the committee charter with members. Erik Hildebrand, wildlife health specialist in the DNR’s Wildlife Health Program, presented an update on chronic wasting disease in the state, and reviewed current management and regulations working to limit the spread of the disease in the state. The meeting ended with gathering member input on ways to improve public engagement strategies.

Contact

For more information about the deer advisory committee, please contact Barbara Keller, big game program leader, 651-259-5198.