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Changes coming to fall deer hunt

Many Northeastern Minnesota deer management units for 2011 now fall under a new "hunter choice" designation, meaning that hunters can take either a buck or an antlerless deer without applying through a lottery process.

That provision is among changes for the 2011 deer season announced by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The Minnesota firearms deer season in 100 Series units (most of northeastern Minnesota) opens Nov. 5. The archery season opens Sept. 17.

A few deer permit areas in northern Minnesota remain classified as lottery units, meaning hunters will have to apply for an either-sex deer permit. Deadline for applying for a lottery permit is Sept. 8.

Minnesota deer licenses went on sale this week at all license agents.

"We're looking forward to another good season," Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator, said in a statement. "Deer populations are at or near goals throughout much of the state."

Choice permits

The new hunter choice deer management designation in some permit areas will function like lottery areas, with the difference being that hunters do not need to make a lottery application or possess an either-sex permit to take an antlerless deer. In hunter choice areas, the license is automatically valid for an either-sex deer.

In those units, bonus permits are not allowed. If a deer is taken in one hunter choice area, a hunter cannot take another deer in another hunter choice or lottery deer area.

The designation was created because the majority of deer permit areas are within their established goal ranges. Hunter choice was not created to increase antlerless harvest rates, but rather to make it simpler to take one either-sex deer in the area.

l The DNR still uses the lottery designation in areas where antlerless deer harvest is restricted. The agency uses "managed" and "intensive harvest" designations when additional antlerless deer harvest is needed. The limit is two deer (with bonus permit) in managed areas and five (with bonus permits) in intensive harvest areas.

l Hunters may once again apply for either-sex or special hunt permits in both the firearms and muzzleloader seasons. In a change from previous years, hunters successful in the lottery can use their permits in either the firearm or muzzleloader season, provided they have a valid license for that season. The deadline for lottery and special hunt applications is Sept. 8.

Although a hunter can be selected for an either-sex permit in both firearms and muzzleloader licenses, successful applicants still may take only one deer. In the case of special hunts, a person may draw both a firearm and muzzleloader permit, in which case they must adhere to the bag limits established by each special hunt.

This year's lottery deer areas are: 103, 108, 119, 234, 235, 237, 238, 250, 251, 252, 253, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 294, 295, 296, and 299.

Because deer herds are largely within goals, there will be no early antlerless deer season this year, and no youth-only antlerless areas available this year.

The 16-foot height restriction for permanent deer stands has been eliminated.

Because of delays created by the state shutdown, the hunting regulations booklet will not be available until mid-August. Hunters can access an online version of the regulations at www.mndnr. gov/regulations/hunting.

The DNR encourages hunters to review new deer hunting regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes before the Sept. 8 application deadline for either-sex deer permits in lottery areas, and for all special hunts.

For more information, go to

City hunt

The Two Harbors City Council last month approved a citywide archery deer hunt this fall modeled after programs in Duluth and Hermantown.

The council's Public Affairs Committee, the Drop Tine chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, and the Two Harbors Police Department are working to develop hunt parameters hunt.

Hunters will only be allowed in designated areas of the city. They will not be allowed within 200 feet of any building, road, trail, park, school, or residence except in certain spots that have been deemed safe for hunting.