Deer hunters encouraged to buy license early

DNR Releases:

With nearly 500,000 firearms deer hunters in the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is encouraging hunters to purchase their licenses early to avoid long lines and any system issues associated with the high sales volume.

Minnesota’s 2011 firearms deer season begins Saturday, Nov. 5.

Deer licenses can be purchased for $27 at DNR license agents across Minnesota, by phone at 888-665-4236 or online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. There are additional fees for telephone and Internet transactions, which individuals should check prior to buying their license. Hunters who purchase licenses by phone and Internet will receive their deer tags by mail, which can take five to 10 business days to arrive.

The Information Center and License Center at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul, will work extended hours on opening weekend to handle additional phone calls from deer hunters. Phone lines will be open on Friday, Nov. 4, until 8 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 5, from 8 a.m. to noon.

License questions should be directed to the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free at 888-646-6367.

DNR expects good season for MN deer hunters

Hunters who venture into fields and forests for Minnesota’s firearms deer season can expect a good deer season and ample hunting opportunities, according to the Minnesota DNR.

“We can’t guarantee harvest success,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife programs manager. “But we can assure hunters that good deer hunting opportunities exist throughout Minnesota.”

Nearly 500,000 people are expected to participate in the firearms deer season, which opens Saturday, Nov. 5, throughout Minnesota.

Minnesota’s whitetail deer population is about 1 million. The DNR, which manages the herd based on population goals established with public input, expects this year’s harvest to be similar to the 207,000 deer harvested in 2010.

During the late 1990s, deer populations were at high levels in many areas due to a succession of mild winters. DNR enacted liberal hunting regulations to reduce the population, resulting in Minnesota’s deer harvest peaking in 2003 at 290,000.

“Throughout most of Minnesota, deer populations are now at goal levels,” Merchant said. “Bag limits have been reduced in some areas, but the deer population remains strong.”

Most corn, which provides ample standing cover and can significantly impact deer harvest, likely will have been harvested, and last winter wasn’t so severe that deer populations were significantly affected.

The firearms deer season concludes in the northern Minnesota on Sunday, Nov. 20, and Sunday, Nov. 13, in all other parts of the state. A late season in southeastern Minnesota that stretches from Watertown in the north to Caledonia in the south opens Saturday, Nov. 19, and closes Sunday, Nov. 27.

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