A late-season antlerless only deer hunt proposed for three southeastern Minnesota permit areas, including Houston County, with deer populations significantly above goal levels will not be conducted in January, 2018.
Public input collected at two meetings and online showed no clear consensus either for or against the hunt, said Paul Telander, wildlife section chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“Deer populations remain chronically above goals in these areas but there is more work to be done to engage hunters, recreational landowners and farmers ahead of any late season hunt,” Telander said.
The DNR had proposed that the hunt be conducted from Saturday, Jan. 6, to Sunday, Jan. 14, in deer permit areas 346, 348 and 349. The areas are in Houston, Winona and Fillmore counties. This special hunt would have run concurrently with the late-season chronic wasting disease hunt in deer permit area 603.
Deer populations in the three permit areas have been over the population goals established in 2014 for multiple seasons. The proposed hunt would have helped move deer populations closer to goal and provided additional hunting opportunity.
“There’s little room for additional hunting opportunities in the current season,” Telander said. “To prepare for next year, the DNR is committed to working with hunters, recreational landowners and farmers to formulate an approach that provides additional antlerless deer harvest and brings deer populations in line with goals in these three permit areas.”
After assessing this year’s deer hunting seasons in southeastern Minnesota, the DNR will organize and announce public input meetings and other input opportunities for area residents and hunters ahead of next year’s hunting season.