Low-flying helicopters will be used for annual white-tailed deer population surveys by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources through March in central, west-central and southeastern Minnesota.
When suitable snow conditions develop, deer will be counted from helicopters during daylight hours at an altitude of about 200 feet. “We use aerial surveys to monitor deer populations in Minnesota,” said Gino D’Angelo, DNR farmland deer project leader. “Data from these flights help improve our knowledge of deer numbers and how deer populations respond to management, and help us make decisions about future deer season regulations.”
Deer permit areas targeted to be flown include:
- Central Minnesota – permit areas 214, 215, 218, 219, 221, 223, 224, 229, 241, and 248 in Becker, Benton, Cass, Hubbard, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Wilkin and Wright counties.
- West-central Minnesota – permit areas 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, and 276 in Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Kandiyohi, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Traverse and Wilkin counties.
- Southeastern Minnesota – permit areas 341, 343, 345, 347, and 348 in Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties.
Aerial elk surveys are also planned for the Kittson County and Grygla elk ranges in northwestern Minnesota.
Questions about survey flights should be directed to the DNR’s farmland wildlife research office in Madelia at 507-642-8478, the central regional wildlife office in St. Paul at 651-259-5756 or the northwest regional wildlife office in Bemidji at 218-308-2651.