Deer open houses

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:

  • Spring 2020 (8 participants): Mixed reports of areas with too few (DPAs 155, 171) and too many (DPAs 155, 173) deer. Potential boundary changes to deer permit areas. Concern about effects of wolf predation on deer.
  • 8/21/2019 (1 attendee): Most questions were not actually related to deer: wild rice, trapping, bears, etc.
Appleton/Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (3 participants): Request for more antlerless tags in permit area 278, request to move close of archery deer season to Jan. 1. 
  • 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.
Baudette

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (0 participants)
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (5 participants): Mixed reports of areas with too few and too many deer in the same permit area (DPA 184). Potential boundary changes to deer permit areas. Concerns about timber harvest on public land.
  • 8/29/2019 (2 attendees): General interest in area wildlife; one comment about fewer deer in DPA 184.
Brainerd

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (6 participants): Comments on low deer numbers on public land, but adequate numbers on private land (DPA 172). Concern about wolf predation and effects on deer numbers. Desire to eliminate party hunting for antlered bucks. Mixed reactions to youth deer season. Concerns about CWD management and captive cervid facilities. 
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (0 participants)
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (5 participants): Mixed reports of areas with too few and too many deer on DPA 181.  Concern about number of wolves in the area and winter severity and effect on deer population, issues with sex ratio skewed toward does. 
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (1 participant): Report of too many deer causing damage in DPA 257. 
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (5 participants): Concern about the ongoing discussion regarding the shotgun zone and potential for elimination. Other topics discussed include habitat management on WMAs, potential boundary changes to deer permit areas, desire for more bucks overall and more deer in DPA 298.
  • 8/27/2019 (9 attendees): Discussion largely centered on perceived low deer numbers in DPA 298; concerns about high timber harvest; CWD-related questions and concerns about captive cervid facilities; issues with changing techniques and values related to deer hunting; good deer numbers in DPA 297; concerns about bear and wolf numbers being too high.
Fergus Falls

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (2 participants): Reports of good deer numbers in area.
  • 8/12/2019 (3 attendees): General interest in deer management topics.
Forest Lake/Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (8 participants): Desire for DPA 235 to reduce number of antlerless permits. Reports of areas with too many deer (DPAs 227 and 236). Concerns about CWD management and captive cervid facilities. Concern about the ongoing discussion regarding the shotgun zone and potential for elimination. Desire of youth season to be antlerless-only.
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (3 participants): Concern about the ongoing discussion regarding the shotgun zone and potential for elimination. There was concern about the impact on local deer populations. 
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (11 participants): Mixed reports of areas with too few and too many deer in the area (DPAs 169 and 179).  Concern about length of youth deer season (support for two-day rather than four-day season), length of archery and muzzleloader seasons, wounding loss. A lot of concern about wolf population numbers and the effect of wolf predation on local deer populations. Support for deer feeding. 
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (1 participant): Reports of too few deer in area 119, concerns about effect of wolf predation on deer population, desire for wolf management. Concern about logging and the effect on deer habitat.
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (0 participants)
  • 8/20/2019 (0 attendees)
Little Falls

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (12 participants): Concerns about CWD. Reports of good deer numbers and too many deer. Concern about the potential elimination of the shotgun zone. Request to reduce age limit for youth deer season. 
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (4 participants): Report of deer populations being too high. Mixed reaction to ongoing discussion regarding shotgun zone and potential for elimination.
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (0 participants)
New London

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (25 participants): Discussion centered around overabundant deer population and potential regulation changes to encourage doe harvest, including earn-a-buck and buck lottery. Some expressed desire for elimination of cross-tagging. Mixed reaction to ongoing discussion regarding shotgun zone and potential for elimination.  Concern about CWD management and captive cervid facilities. 
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (1 participant): Concern about too many deer in Faribault County as indicated by the number of vehicle-killed deer along Interstate 90 in Walnut Lake WMA.
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (0 participants)
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (2 participants): Concerns expressed about more severe winters in recent years, too liberal of deer seasons lately, overharvest of antlerless deer, too many wolves/predators, loss of good forested deer habitat, and too few deer, especially on public lands.
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (5 participants): Discussion centered around low deer numbers in this area (DPA 111). Expressed desire for wolf population management to benefit deer. 
  • 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.
Redwood Falls

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (1 participant): Report of deer populations being too high.
Rochester

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (2 participants): Discussion centered around overabundant deer population, concern about CWD, and issues with hunter access to private land.
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (1 participant): Discussion about mild winter and good condition of the local deer population. 
  • 9/5/2019 (0 attendees)
Sauk Rapids

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (3 participants): Reports of adequate or too many deer in permit area 218. Request to eliminate party  hunting of antlered bucks. Concern about CWD and captive cervid facilities.
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (0 participants)
  • 9/3/2019 (1 attendee): Questions about CWD and hunting in DPA 604.
Slayton/Talcot Area

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (0 participants)
Thief Lake

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (1 participant): Desire for transfer of deer licenses, interest in antler point restriction, increase in antlerless deer harvest, public education about aging deer, field dressing, herd management. 
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (1 participant): Report of good deer numbers in DPA 203, desire for more antlerless permits.
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (25 participants): Majority of discussions were focused on very low deer numbers in the Tower area, resulting in very poor hunting success. Hunters expressed desire for wolf population management to benefit deer. 
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (0 participants)
  • 8/29/2019 (0 attendees)
Two Harbors

Previous meetings:

  • Spring 2020 (8 participants): Mixed reports of areas with too few deer inland and too many deer on the lake shore. Concern about effects of wolf predation and special antlerless hunts on deer.
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (0 participants)
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (0 participants)
  • 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:

  • Spring 2020 (2 participants): Concern about the ongoing discussion regarding the shotgun zone and potential for elimination. There was concern about the impact on local deer populations. 
  • 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.