Erik Thorson, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Park Rapids area wildlife supervisor, has accepted a temporary assignment to oversee the agency’s while-tailed deer and other big game programs.
Thorson officially begins his new position on Wednesday, Nov. 15, but will begin handling some responsibilities, including media contacts, immediately preceding the opening weekend of this year’s deer season on Saturday, Nov. 4.
The big game program leader manages deer and elk populations and harvest seasons, and works with groups and individuals to manage seasons and populations to address the expectations of a diverse public.
He has been a member of the DNR’s Deer Management Committee since 2005. Thorson led the DNR’s deer goal-setting process for north-central Minnesota in 2006 and was a DNR liaison during the 2015 goal-setting process. As a wildlife supervisor and assistant supervisor, he has been involved in deer season setting each year.
He coordinated chronic wasting disease sampling efforts in the DNR’s northwest region in 2004 and has assisted with bovine tuberculosis control and sampling in northwestern Minnesota. Thorson will be overseeing a CWD sampling station during mandatory firearms season testing this coming weekend.
“Eric will be a valuable asset to the big game program given his experience managing deer, his membership on the deer committee and the knowledge gained from his work with DNR,” said Paul Telander, DNR wildlife section chief.
Thorson began his DNR career in 2001 as a private lands specialist. He served as Park Rapids assistant area wildlife manager from 2001-2006 and regional forest wildlife coordinator from 2006-2014. He has been acting Park Rapids area wildlife supervisor since March 2014.
This is the second time Thorson has served as acting big game coordinator. He also filled the post from February to June 2012.