State deer opener set for Nov. 4

Last winter was severe in some parts of the region, most notably in the Bemidji area and farther north, according to the winter severity index. 

While some deer mortality was observed and reported, the deer population throughout the northwest region appears to be in good shape. Some parts of the region, particularly the far northwest, received excessive rainfall last spring, while further south, rainfall amounts were less than average. 

Summer conditions were much improved from last summer’s drought. Forage availability, including a good acorn crop in most parts of the region, has been reliable. Barring any major rainfall, access to public land should be better than average, with low water in ditches and wetlands. 

Deer populations are mostly stable in the region. There are plenty of deer on the landscape and hunters who do their homework and spend time in the woods and fields should have plenty of opportunities to harvest deer. 

Many deer permit areas (DPA) in the region have two- or three-deer limits, and hunters are reminded to check the regulations for the DPAs they hunt. Some DPAs have lower, more restrictive deer limits because of concerns about last winter’s effect on some local deer populations where winter severity index values were high. 

Lower deer limits will enable local herds to recover and possibly grow — some examples include DPAs 114, 184, 203, 251, 258, 269, 270, 271, 272, 287, 297 and 298, which are among DPAs with one-deer limits, as well as permit area 111 in the Baudette area, which is “bucks only” because deer populations remain below population goal range.

CWD sampling will be mandatory during the opening weekend of the regular firearms deer hunting season in parts of the region, including the East Grand Forks-Crookston-Climax area throughout DPA 661 as well as in DPA 184 and the adjacent DPAs. 

Hunters should refer to the Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations handbook or the DNR website for important details about CWD sampling and surveillance, carcass movement restrictions, and deer feeding and attractant bans, and more. Hunters are encouraged to make a plan and must follow any CWD sampling requirements and carcass movement restrictions in their DPA.