Afton State Park will be closed to all visitors beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5 for a special deer hunt. The state park will reopen to the public at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 8. The purpose for the hunt is to prevent overpopulation of deer and to protect resources.
Hunts also will take place at other Minnesota state parks and recreation areas this fall, and access to the parks will vary. Some will remain open to all visitors, some will have limited public access and some will be open only to hunters with special permits. The deadlines have passed for youth and adults to apply for the permits to participate in these state park and recreation area hunts, which include regular firearms, muzzleloader and archery options.
“Too many of one animal or plant species in an area can start to throw off the balance of other species in that area,” said Tavis Westbrook, a natural resource program coordinator with DNR’s Division of Parks and Trails. “When there are too many deer in a park, they feed too much on certain trees and native plants, so occasionally we allow deer hunts as a way to protect natural resources.”
The DNR thanks visitors for their patience and understanding during the hunts.
For a list of parks and recreation areas that are open, partially open or closed during the 2021 hunting season, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/hunting.html or contact the DNR Information Center at [email protected] or call 888-646-6367 (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sat.).
Details on specific areas affected by the special deer hunts can also be found in the “Visitor Alert” boxes on the individual park and recreation area website pages at www.mndnr.gov.