Deer open houses

Spring 2020 open houses update

Do you have thoughts about deer populations in your area? You’re invited to call or email your local wildlife manager – and we sincerely want to have these conversations with you! 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, in accordance with guidance from state health officials, is postponing, adjusting and canceling a variety of public events due to COVID-19 precautions. This includes the deer open houses that were scheduled for March.

Public engagement on DNR issues like deer management is a top priority for us; however, public health is more important. So we’ll now be having these important conversations with you from a distance. 

In order for us to use your input for the upcoming seasons, please reach out to your local wildlife manager by Wednesday, April 1. 

As part of its statewide deer management plan, the DNR began local, open house meetings are a way to encourage conversations about deer and deer management, enhance local relationships and foster two-way communication between the DNR and the public.

The meetings occur twice each year. Topics for discussion include general concerns about deer, harvest data, topics for the DNR’s deer advisory committee and upcoming hunting season changes.

Information on any upcoming meetings, along with summaries from past meetings, including the number of attendees and a brief description of topics addressed, are listed below. 

Meeting information

(Acronyms referenced: CWD (chronic wasting disease); DPA (deer permit area); WMA (wildlife management area); WSI (winter severity index).)

 

Aitkin

Previous meetings:

  • 8/21/2019 (1 attendee): Most questions were not actually related to deer: wild rice, trapping, bears, etc.
Baudette

Previous meetings:

  • 8/15/2019 (3 attendees): Recommended deer permit area boundary changes for 103 and 105; complaints about trespass and road alignment; status of the deer herd in the area; wolves; coyotes; definitions of resident vs. nonresident; support for expanded youth and waterfowl seasons.
Bemidji

Previous meetings:

  • 8/29/2019 (2 attendees): General interest in area wildlife; one comment about fewer deer in DPA 184.
Brainerd

Previous meetings:

  • 8/29/2019 (7 attendees): CWD was major topic of discussion given the recent discovery of CWD in the area and creation of DPA 604 and associated regulation changes to combat CWD. Questions about new regulations and concern about over-harvest.
Cambridge

Previous meetings:

  • 8/14/2019 (7 attendees): CWD was the main topic of discussion with the majority of the attendees. Concern with the continual spread of the disease and the changes to deer hunting in those CWD zones. Most of the talk about deer hunting in the Cambridge work area was centered around DPA 227 – general agreement with the intensive designation for 2019.
Cloquet

Previous meetings:

  • 8/28/2019 (6 attendees): Concerns about CWD and captive cervid facilities, support for antler point restrictions, questions about sampling for CWD. Questions about a statewide deer feeding ban.
Crookston

Previous meetings:

  • 8/21/2019 (1 attendee): One hunter opposed the statewide youth deer hunt, and questioned frequent bag limit changes for DPA 210. General discussion about the model, harvest registration, WSI, etc. Also had questions about the Bear Quota vs. No Quota zone.  
Detroit Lakes

Previous meetings:

  • 8/12/2019 (3 attendees): General interest in deer management topics.
Forest Lake/Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area

Previous meetings:

  • 8/21/2019 (5 attendees): A couple attendees felt deer densities are too high in DPA 227. Other comments for change included: to no longer allow party hunting for bucks, move the gun season two weeks later with a muzzleloader lottery where the gun season is currently, no antler point restriction, get rid of license fees and add incentives to hunt in 600 series. Complaints about new regulations included: statewide youth season will make hunting the regular season more difficult on public land, venison donation program has too much red tape, hunters in Minnesota Deer Hunters Association want to see what their money is going to specifically other than just CWD. One person feels the wolf population is much higher than estimated and had a question about ATV use/hour restrictions during the youth firearm season.
Glenwood

Previous meetings:

  • 8/22/2019 (6 attendees): General frustration with deer damage to gardens in urban areas and crops in agricultural areas. Farmers in attendance would like the DNR to implement earn-a-buck to help decrease deer populations.
Grand Rapids

Previous meetings:

  • 8/28/2019 (3 attendees): General discussion on deer, CWD, deer feeding, wolves, coyotes, fawn production, winter severity index, out-of-state college student licenses, hunter walking trails, need for more road and trail maintenance in the Ely area on U.S. Forest Service lands.
International Falls

Previous meetings:

  • 8/28/2019 (9 attendees): General concerns about low deer numbers in DPAs 103, 108 and 119. Wolf predation and forest management were discussed as potential causes. Other topics discussed included youth deer season, winter severity and ongoing deer research.
Karlstad

Previous meetings:

  • 8/20/2019 (0 attendees)
Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area and Appleton

Previous meetings:

  • 8/20/2019 (8 attendees): Lengthy discussion on desires for higher aged structure deer herds vs. the reality of hunters disagreement on regulations required to achieve that (antler point restrictions, Buck Lottery, no party hunting, etc.). Also discussed CWD implications to herd management, updates and contingency plan; support for expanded statewide youth deer season.
Little Falls

Previous meetings:

  • 8/21/2019 (10 attendees): Concerns from hunters and farmers about high deer numbers in permit areas 213, 214, 215, 221 and 246. Frustration from landowners about not having more convenient options to control deer; suggestions that the DNR support a statute allowing growers to take deer causing damage. All were concerned about CWD, especially with high deer numbers. One attendee voiced opposition to elk reintroduction due to CWD risk and also potential elk damage to crops. One attendee thought deer population in DPA 248 warranted less restrictive regulations than hunters choice.
Marshall

Previous meetings:

  • 8/19/2019 (8 attendees): Regulation changes for upcoming season was main topic along with CWD testing, coyote predation, questions on rifle zone going statewide, and youth recruitment to hunting. Discussions also went beyond deer management to pheasants, waterfowl and fishing. Strong support for Walk-In-Access program.
Mille Lacs

Previous meetings:

  • 8/13/2019 (6 attendees): The expanded youth deer hunt structure was heavily discussed. Many agreed with a youth hunt, but through age 15 should be the maximum. Most in attendance thought that the deer population was too high. Those in attendance hailed from the highest density areas of DPA 277. Food plots were discussed and attendees encouraged the DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to plant more food plots, especially corn food plots. A few expressed a desire for a "earn a buck" system. Opposition for antler point restrictions.
Nicollet

Previous meetings:

  • 8/13/2019 (13 attendees): CWD was main topic of discussions, including all aspects of the cause and spread of the disease, management implications, and in-depth discussion of new rules for 2019. City deer hunts and residential deer damage was also a focus of several attendees. Concerns over high deer density in DPA 253 was voiced via email.
Owatonna

Previous meetings:

  • 8/29/2019 (26 attendees): Nearly all the discussion was related to CWD and understanding new regulations for the CWD management and control zones. Also discussed Austin City Special Hunt implementation.
Park Rapids

Previous meetings:

  • 8/22/2019 (3 attendees): Buck-to-doe ratio out of balance, too many does; consider earn-a-buck; increase in wolf population; CWD-related concerns, including risks associated with captive cervid facilities.
Red Lake

Previous meetings:

  • 8/13/2019 (14 attendees): Low deer numbers in DPA 111; support for intensive harvest in DPA 105 to reduce deer numbers; CWD-related concerns; discussion of bovine tuberculosis; suggested DPA boundary changes for 111, 101 and 105.
Rochester

Previous meetings:

  • 8/27/2019 (29 attendees): Many questions about CWD and new regulations in the southeast. Support for implementing Walk-In-Access program and questions about deer population surveys in the southeast. Issues with high deer populations and lack of hunters and landowners that allow access. Many questions and suggestions about CWD management.
Roseau

Previous meetings:

  • 9/5/2019 (0 attendees)
Sauk Rapids

Previous meetings:

  • 8/27/2019 (5 attendees): Questions and concerns about CWD. Concerns about captive cervid facilities and CWD. Support for expanded youth deer hunting opportunities. Concerns about the lack of wolf management. Questions about the DNR WMA management philosophy and concerns about excessive tree removal on WMAs. Support for management of the Camp Ripley deer population managed towards older males.
Shakopee

Previous meetings:

  • 9/3/2019 (1 attendee): Questions about CWD and hunting in DPA 604.
Slayton/Talcot Area
Thief Lake

Previous meetings:

  • 8/19/2019 (4 attendees): General discussion of deer populations in DPAs 101, 267 and 268; support for increasing prescribed fire as a management tool.
Thief River

Previous meetings:

  • 8/28/2019 (5 attendees): Interest in Deer Management Plan implementation, measures posted on website; CWD; interest in portable stand regulations in northwest Minnesota; interest in more food plots on WMAs.
Tower

Previous meetings:

  • 8/27/2019 (14 attendees): CWD; deer and moose management; forest management; wolves; deer feeding. Permit area 119 continues to generate discussion regarding wolf predation and forest management.
Twin Cities metro area (Minneapolis/St. Paul)

Previous meetings:

  • 8/29/2019 (0 attendees)
Two Harbors

Previous meetings:

  • 8/20/2019 (5 attendees): Lower deer numbers and poor hunting in recent years, forest and habitat management in northeast Minnesota, as well as removal of woodlands and Conservation Reserve Program for agriculture in Iowa, herbicide, wolves and management, cougars, beavers, winter severity, CWD and new statewide youth season. Concerns over baiting violations.
Vermillion

Previous meetings:

  • 8/20/2019 (3 attendees): CWD-related concerns, opposition to the antler point restrictions, opposition to the expansion of the youth deer hunt.
Whitewater

Previous meetings:

  • 8/29/2019 (14 attendees): Concerns related to timber harvest on Whitewater WMA, questions and concerns about CWD and new regulations. Skepticism regarding the deer population model.
Windom

Previous meetings:

  • 8/21/2019 (4 attendees): Discussion of issues related to deer feeding, urban deer populations and hunting opportunities. Questions about the Hunter Choice designation in DPA 281 and 290, and concerns about herd demographics in these areas. Support the expanded youth deer hunt.