Firearms deer harvest down 8 percent from 2012

November 18, 2013

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Minnesota hunters harvested 77,008 deer during the first three days of the firearms season, down 8 percent from 2012, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader, said a slightly smaller harvest over the first three days is not surprising.

“Last year, opening weekend weather was almost ideal and the state’s corn harvest was virtually complete, she said. “So given Saturday’s roaring winds of up to 30 miles per hour, which tends to restrict deer movement, and more available deer refuge areas due to pockets of standing corn, the harvest is about what you’d expect.” In some areas, she said, about a quarter of the corn crop was not yet harvested.

The DNR had sold 445,385 firearms deer licenses as of Monday, about 1,000 fewer than last year but roughly 10,000 more than 2011.

Around the state, opening day hunting conditions included snow in the north and gusty winds and overcast skies most everywhere, turning nicer on Sunday.

The harvest was down 19 percent in the northeast, 4 percent in the southeast and 6 percent for the remainder of the state.

Because hunters have 48 hours to register a harvested deer, final opening weekend numbers for 2013 will be greater than those reported today.

With improving weather conditions this week, the DNR still expects the final 2013 harvest to be similar to last year when about 185,000 deer were taken.

The firearms season continued through Sunday for all but northeast Minnesota, which extends until Nov. 24.

There is also a late southeast firearms season that runs Nov. 23-Dec. 1.

The DNR reminds hunters who harvest a deer to tag it at the kill site.

Also, new this year, hunters are required to register their deer within 48 hours after harvest and before processing.

Hunters can report violations 24/7 by calling the Turn In Poachers hotline at 800-652-9093.

Prairie Archers steak/shrimp dinner

Prairie Archers will be hosting a steak/shrimp dinner at the Dodge House in Lester Prairie Saturday, Nov. 23 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Options for the dinner include steak and shrimp combo ($13), steak ($11), pork chop ($10), six shrimp ($9), and ribeye ($15).

Each meal includes baked potato, tossed salad, bread, dessert, and coffee or milk.

Reservations need to be made by Friday, Nov. 22 before 6 p.m., and be called in to the Dodge House at (320) 395-2877 or to Jim Richardson at (320) 395-2721.

Some lands considered baited and off limits to waterfowl hunters
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds waterfowl hunters that some fields are considered baited and off limits to waterfowl hunting.

Due to the wet and cold spring, some farmers were not able to plant a normal crop for harvest. Instead they worked with their insurance companies or the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Conservation Service office to plant a cover crop.

“These cover crops were never intended for harvest and are now being disced, tilled or plowed. The food sources such as oats, which were a common cover crop, are now an attractive food source for ducks and geese,” said Lt. Dean Olson, DNR enforcement district supervisor in Rochester. Olson noted these fields are considered baited and off limits to waterfowl hunting.

Federal regulations define a baited area “as any area on which salt, grain, or other feed has been placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered, if that salt, grain, or other feed could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on, or over areas where hunters are attempting to take them.”

“Any such area will remain a baited area for 10 days following the complete removal of all such salt, grain or other feed,” Olson said.

Hunters are encouraged to talk with the farmers about fields prior to hunting to assure none of them were planted as a cover crop.

Find more information on waterfowl hunting on agricultural lands at: www.fws.gov/le/waterfowl-hunting-and-baiting.html.

Bemidji to host 2014 Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener
From the DNR

Gov. Mark Dayton announced today that the city of Bemidji has been chosen as the host community for the Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener to kick-off the 2014 firearms deer season.

Dayton made the announcement at today’s 11th annual deer hunting opener celebration in Fergus Falls.

“During my three years hosting the Governor’s Deer Opener, we have enjoyed terrific events, thanks to the hard work of our hosts in Biwabik, Winona, and Fergus Falls,” Dayton said. “I thank everyone in Bemidji for their willingness to continue this great Minnesota tradition.”

The Bemidji area is a popular deer hunting and travel destination because of its vast forests, including the Chippewa National Forest and the Buena Vista and Blackduck state forests.

Lodging, dining and other services options also are abundant.

Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener events bring positive attention to an activity that is economically important to the state and socially important at the friend, family and community level, too.

Minnesota is home to nearly a half-million deer hunters whose direct retail spending totals more than a quarter-billion dollars and supports 3,760 jobs, according to a 2011 study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“We’re excited about having the governor help showcase the Bemidji area,” said Dennelle Hilliard, executive director of the city’s visitor and convention bureau. “We have a great public land base and wonderful natural resources for people to enjoy.”

The Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Explore Minnesota Tourism will assist local partners in planning the event.

CO weekly reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) last week checked trappers.
CO Mies was busy this past weekend checking deer hunters.
CO Mies worked many tip calls.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) followed up on several complaints related to trespass, trapping and deer hunting.
The first snowmobilers were seen in the area.
Deer hunting opener was slow with the high winds keeping the deer in dense cover.
Enforcement action was taken for hunting deer over a baited area.

• CO Mitch Sladek (Big Lake) worked deer hunters with the assistance of Lt. Kanieski and Londgren they issued a number of summons for hunting deer over a baited area.
He responded to a TIP call with the assistance of CO Arntzen of swans being shot which resulted in summons for taking non-game migratory birds.
He followed up on a number of trespassing complaints.
He answered trapping and nuisance animal complaints.
He issued a number of car kill deer possession permits.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) worked the deer opener with CO Grewe finding a few deer shot in Sherburne County but no deer shot in Carver or Hennepin Counties, a few license violations were found.
Waterfowl hunters were checked but not having much luck.
Telephone calls on hunting questions were returned daily.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) checked waterfowl and pheasant hunters along with trappers during the week.
A cease and desist order was issued for work in a wetland without a permit.
A case involving an illegally taken bear was investigated.
Trespass continues to be an issue in the area.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked the start of the 2013 firearms deer season.
Oberg saw numerous nice bucks taken in the area with a half dozen or so 10-pointers checked.
He also reports baiting once again was a significant issue in the area.
Trapping enforcement was also worked with some trappers having success with raccoon.