Deer hunt gets tougher
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Office in Tower is forecasting a reduced deer population for northern St. Louis and Lake counties. The firearms deer hunting season opens Saturday.
Wildlife managers report a smaller deer herd and fewer anterless permits.
The local deer herd has been thinned by two consecutive moderately-severe winters, and by predators and aggressive antlerless deer harvest during the past five years. Fawn production has been reduced. Most units now are at or slightly below population goals set for each permit area in 2005.
The 16-day firearms season in northeastern Minnesota will straddle the peak of the annual white-tail breeding period. Hunters should see good deer movement as the annual rutting season progresses.
Hunters will find wet field conditions following eight-plus inches of rain in August, September and October compared with last summer. Swamps and wetlands are wet, after being bone dry.
Liberal antlerless regulations have produced the five all-time highest deer harvests in the past six years. Last year marked the third straight year the antlerless harvest topped buck harvest in the area.
Winters are the biggest factor in increasing or decreasing deer populations in the area. Most local areas are showing population reduction.
Closer to Lake Superior, your can find more deer, said Bob Kirsch, the area wildlife manager at the DNR's Two Harbors office. He said areas north and east of Two Harbors had more severe winters and higher snowfalls.
Kirsch said hunters need to be sure they are hunting where they are allowed to and not trespassing on private property. Early hunts this fall have led to disputes, he said.
With deer on the move because of the rut, caution is also urged when driving them with groups of hunters, the DNR said.
The weather forecast? Partly cloudy and in the 40s. Not bad. No rain, at least.
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