New Minnesota deer regulations posted online; license sales start Sunday

Deer 2
(Associated Press photo)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WKBT) — Minnesota deer hunters can bone up on new rules, including adjustments to harvesting limits, for the 2021 deer hunting season, as a new regulation handbook was posted online Monday.
In addition to the online version of the new Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations handbook, another harbinger of the hunting season will be the kickoff of license sales on Sunday.
The handbook is on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ deer hunting web page. Printed versions will be delivered to hunting license vendors next week.
Hunting licenses will be available from any DNR license agent, by telephone at (888) 665-4236 or online. Archery deer season opens Saturday, Sept. 18, and firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 6.
“For the 2021 season, hunters may harvest more than one deer in almost half of the permit areas,” said Barbara Keller, the DNR’s 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 change this year shifting from unlimited antlerless deer bag limit to just five deer. The unlimited bag limit traditionally was used to reduce deer densities to curb disease spread in sickness management zones and manage urban deer issues.
Although few hunters take more than two deer in these areas, the unlimited designation concerned some hunters, who objected that it was intended to reduce deer populations in those areas. The five-deer limit is a response to those concerns, although it does not appreciably alter harvest levels or the DNR’s ability to meet management goals.
Mandatory sampling of deer harvested in chronic wasting disease zones will resume this year, and those zones have expanded because CWD was found 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 surveillance zone, following CWD detections in a farmed deer facility in Beltrami County this spring.
Deer permit areas 233 and 342, between the south metro area and the southeastern corner of the state, also have been added to the CWD surveillance zone because of additional CWD detections.
The DNR also is changing the names of bag-limit designations to make the limits more clear. The one-deer limit categories are “bucks only,” “antlerless permit lottery” (formerly “lottery”) and “either-sex” (formerly “hunter choice”). “Managed” is now “two-deer limit,” and “intensive” is now “three-deer limit.”
The bag-limit descriptions remain unchanged, except for the “unlimited antlerless” designation, which has been replaced with a “five-deer limit” designation.
The DNR has expanded the early antlerless deer season, Oct. 21-24, to include more deer permit areas in central and southeastern Minnesota. Hunters can apply for an antlerless permit any time between Sunday, Aug. 1, and Thursday, Sept. 9.
Late CWD hunts are scheduled for Dec. 17-19 and Dec. 31-Jan. 2; additional details will be posted on the DNR website closer to hunt dates.
The Camp Ripley archery hunt will be a single, three-day hunt from Oct. 29 to 31, instead of two, 2-day hunts. Applicants must apply for the Camp Ripley lottery by Aug. 20.
Additional hunting opportunities, including the annual youth deer season from Oct. 21-24 and special hunts, are listed on the deer hunting web page.