Minnesota deer hunters who were hoping to have more opportunity in the whitetail woods this fall will get that chance around Alexandria after the 2016 hunting and trapping regulations came out last week.
The regulations, which announce the deer hunting permit areas each season, saw a change from last season with area 213 around Alexandria and north toward Parkers Prairie being changed from a hunter’s choice zone to a management zone. That means a hunter can now take up to two deer with the purchase of a bonus permit in addition to their regular deer license.
The DNR issued a release on August 1 that said they expect a steadily growing deer population to possibly produce more deer sightings and slightly more harvest opportunities this fall, although much of the state remains in areas with a one-deer limit.
“Hunters can look forward to seeing the growth in local deer populations following two years of mild winters and lower overall harvests,” Adam Murkowski, Big Game Program leader with the Minnesota DNR, said in the release.
This portion of the state in West-Central Minnesota has a lot of management zones for hunters to choose from this season. Areas 240, 241, 214, 215 and 248, which lie predominantly north and east of Alexandria, are also management zones in addition to 213. Areas 273, 276, 277 and 218 to the south are hunter’s choice areas, meaning a hunter can take one deer of either sex on their license.
Hunters could buy deer licenses and apply to the lottery for antlerless deer permits starting on Aug. 1. The deadline to apply for the antlerless permit lottery is Sept. 8. The archery opener in Minnesota is Sept. 17 this season, with the statewide firearms opening date falling on Nov. 5. Muzzleloader opener is Nov. 26.
Every year harvest regulations are set for each of Minnesota’s 128 permit areas to manage deer populations to established goals. In northern and northeastern areas, the 2016 hunting regulations will remain somewhat conservative to allow for a controlled increase in deer numbers, resulting in lottery and bucks only designations.
In the highly productive deer permit areas in west central and southeast Minnesota, as well as areas surrounding the Twin Cities metro area, regulations are meant to use hunting as a tool to help manage local deer populations. These deer permit areas tend to either allow hunters to choose to shoot a single buck or single antlerless deer, or to allow hunters to harvest more than one deer.
In 67 deer permit areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to harvest an antlerless deer (down from 70 areas last season). Only bucks can be hunted in five areas (down from 14 areas). In 32 areas, hunters have the choice of harvesting a doe or a buck (up from 29 areas). Bonus permits allowing hunters to harvest more than one deer may only be used in 24 permit areas and for some special hunts (up from 12 areas).
View the entire 2016 hunting and trapping regulations at www.dnr.state.mn.us or by picking up a booklet where licenses are sold.