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Hunters can begin planning with the 2021 deer hunting season details

With the release of the online version of the 2021 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations handbook, hunters can read up on what’s new to prepare for this year’s deer hunting season. The handbook is now available on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ deer hunting webpage. Printed copies of the handbook will be delivered to hunting license vendors the first week of August.

Hunting licenses go on sale Sunday and are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-665-4236 or online, according to a press release. Archery deer season opens Sept. 18, and firearms deer season opens Nov. 6.

“For the 2021 season, hunters may harvest more than one deer in almost half of the permit areas,” said Barbara Keller, DNR big game program leader. “Overall, bag-limit designations for this year are similar to last year, with a few changes in certain areas to move populations toward goal.”

One of the changes this year is a shift to a five-deer bag limit in areas that were previously under an unlimited antlerless bag limit. The unlimited antlerless bag limit was traditionally used to increase harvest and reduce deer densities to limit disease spread in disease management zones and manage urban deer issues in the metro deer permit area.

While few hunters take more than two deer in these areas, the unlimited designation concerned some hunters, who felt its purpose was to greatly diminish deer populations in these areas. The move to five-deer limit responds to these concerns, while not appreciably altering harvest levels and thus the DNR’s ability to meet management goals.

Hunters also should be aware that mandatory sampling of deer harvested in chronic wasting disease zones will resume this year and that those zones have expanded following detections of the disease in wild and captive deer. In the northern part of the state, deer permit areas 184, 110, 197 and a portion of deer permit area 169 have been added to the chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance zone, following CWD detections in a farmed deer facility in Beltrami County this spring. Deer permit areas 233 and 342, located between the south metro area and the southeastern corner of the state, have also been added to the CWD surveillance zone due to additional detections of CWD-positive deer within the management zone.

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