Following several years of tight hunting restrictions and mild winters, Minnesota’s deer population has recovered, and hunters will likely be allowed to shoot more this fall. That’s the assessment of Adam Murkowski, who oversees deer hunting for the DNR.
“We’ve had mild winters and conservative regulations, and we saw a really positive response from a lot of deer herds last year,” said Murkowski, the DNR’s big game program leader. “And now we had another mild winter. That’s going to translate to additional opportunities for hunters this fall, broadly speaking.”
Officials had predicted that, as long as winters weren’t severe, the deer population would rebound quickly following regulations that often prohibited hunters from shooting female deer. But Murkowski said the rate of recovery in some areas surprised wildlife officials.
“In some units we saw 30 to 40 percent increases in the buck harvest, and that shows significant increase in the herds,” he said. Murkowski said the recovery was often most pronounced in the northern parts of the state, including the wolf range in the Arrowhead in northeast Minnesota, where deer died in significant numbers during harsh winters of several years ago. It’s an area that has become known by hunters, often with disappointment, as “bucks-only territory.”
“There’s gonna be more antlerless opportunities up there for folks,” Murkowski said. But no specific changes have yet been made, he said last week. The process for determining how many deer can be shot in which parts of the state will be completed during the summer. This is from the Pioneer Press, by Dave Orrick.