Special hunts to prevent overpopulation of deer and protect resources will occur this fall at several Minnesota state parks, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Access to the parks will vary during these hunts. Some parks will remain open to all visitors, some will have limited access and some will be open only to hunters with special permits (closed to the general public). The deadlines for youth and adults to apply for a special permit to participate in the hunts—which include firearms, muzzleloader and archery options—have passed.
“These hunts are a cost-effective way for the DNR to help manage deer populations. And for some youth-only park hunts, they’re a great way to introduce youngsters to deer hunting,” said Tavis Westbrook, natural resource program coordinator for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division.
When there are too many of one animal or plant species in an area it can start to throw off the balance of other species. For example, when there are too many deer in a park, they tend to feed on certain trees and native plant communities. Because of this, the DNR occasionally allows deer hunts as a means of protecting natural resources.
The DNR advises anyone planning to visit a state park between now and the end of December to check online or call ahead to see whether a hunt is planned and whether the park will be open. The DNR also advises wearing blaze orange when visiting parks where hunts are taking place. Visitors should check for hunt-related information at the park office when they arrive, look carefully for hunt-related signage and follow instructions.
For a list of parks that are open, partially open or closed during the 2018 hunting season, visit mndnr.gov/state_parks/hunting.html or contact the DNR Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).
Details on which areas of each park will be affected by the special deer hunts can also be found in the “Visitor Alert” boxes on the individual park webpages at mndnr.gov/parkfinder.