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Outdoor Notes for Aug. 5

Deer hunters will have more opportunities this fall Additional deer hunting opportunities will be available this fall because numbers continue to rebound across the state and now many areas have populations at or above goal levels, according to t...

The Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday, July 25, 2018, announced specifics of its Minnesota White-tailed Deer Management Plan, which will guide deer management and DNR performance in achieving management goals from 2019 through 2028. Courtesy photo / Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Additional deer hunting opportunities will be available this fall because numbers continue to rebound across the state and now many areas have populations at or above goal levels. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota DNR

Deer hunters will have more opportunities this fall

Additional deer hunting opportunities will be available this fall because numbers continue to rebound across the state and now many areas have populations at or above goal levels, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

"Deer populations have responded well to favorable winter weather and our generally conservative harvest levels in recent years," said Erik Thorson, acting big game program leader for the DNR. "So we have been able to expand hunting opportunities once again in much of the state in order to reduce populations or stabilize growth."

This year, there are more deer permit areas where hunters can use bonus permits to harvest more than one deer, and fewer areas where hunters need to apply in a lottery to shoot an antlerless deer.

Mandatory testing for chronic wasting disease (CWD) continues this year: in the disease management zone (deer permit area 603) during all deer seasons; in most permit areas in southeastern Minnesota during the first two days of both the A (Nov. 3 and 4) and 3B (Nov. 17 and 18) firearm seasons; and in several deer permit areas in Crow Wing and Meeker county areas in north-central and central Minnesota during the first two days of the A firearms season.

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Hunters can buy deer licenses and apply to the lottery for antlerless deer permits beginning Wednesday, Aug. 1. The deadline to apply for the antlerless permit lottery is Thursday, Sept. 6. Archery deer season opens Saturday, Sept. 15, and firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 3.

Every year harvest regulations are reviewed, taking a wide variety of information into consideration. Wildlife research scientists use the previous year's harvest data, winter severity, aerial survey information where available and other information to estimate late winter deer abundance in each permit area. These estimates are compared to established population goals for each area, and along with observations from DNR area wildlife managers, hunters, farmers, foresters and others, form the basis for final season recommendations.

"As part of our new statewide White-tailed Deer Management Plan, we are scheduling local meetings across the state for citizens, including hunters, to come and discuss deer hunting regulations and management with area DNR wildlife managers," Thorson said.

The regulations for each of Minnesota's deer permit areas are set to manage populations toward goals established for each area. These goals are based on information from the DNR and local citizens through a periodic public goal-setting process.

In just one of the state's 130 permit areas, only bucks can be hunted. In 39 areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to harvest an antlerless deer (down from 48 areas last year). In 36 areas, hunters have the choice of harvesting a doe or a buck (down from 38 areas last year). Bonus permits allowing hunters to harvest more than one deer may be used in 54 permit areas (up from 43 areas last year) and for most special hunts. Four permit areas in southeastern Minnesota will also be open again for an early antlerless-only hunt in October.

Buying a license

Hunters who purchase a license by Sept. 6 are automatically entered into the lottery for an antlerless permit. Those who do not wish to harvest an antlerless deer are encouraged to purchase their license after the lottery deadline.

Hunters may apply using both their firearm and muzzleloader licenses. If a hunter is selected for both licenses, only one antlerless deer can be taken.

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Deer hunting licenses, lottery applications and special hunt applications are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-646-6367 or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense. Lottery winners will be notified in October.

Permit area changes

Changes to permit area boundaries made last year remain in effect this year. In southeastern Minnesota, portions of permit areas 347 and 348 were merged to form permit area 603 when CWD was detected. In northeastern Minnesota's moose range, all or some of permit areas 122, 127, 176, 178, 180 and 181 from 2016 were realigned to form permit areas 130, 131, 132 and 133.

Southeast Minnesota CWD sampling

Mandatory CWD testing of deer harvested within the disease management zone - deer permit area 603 - throughout all hunting seasons continues this year. Carcass movement restrictions remain in place until a test result is reported due to continued infection found in this area.

Sampling of hunter-harvested deer for CWD will be mandatory during the first two days of both the A (Nov. 3 and 4) and 3B (Nov. 17 and 18) firearm seasons this year in most permit areas in southeastern Minnesota. Those areas are 255 (Nov. 3 and 4only), 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349 (Nov. 3-4 and Nov. 17-18). This expanded area is due to the discovery of CWD in nine farmed deer in Winona County, two wild deer in Forestville State Park and a wild deer in Eau Claire County, Wisconsin.

North-central and central Minnesota CWD sampling

Hunter-harvested deer from permit areas surrounding two CWD-positive deer farms in Crow Wing and Meeker counties will again be tested for CWD this fall during the first two days of the A firearms deer season (Nov. 3-4), but this mandatory testing will be in smaller, more focused areas. Those areas are:

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• North-central (Crow Wing County area): Deer permit areas 242 and 247.

• Central (Meeker County area): Deer permit areas including portions of 277 and 283 east of state highway 4, the portion of 219 south of state highway 55, and the portion of 285 north of Minnesota Highway 7.

No positive deer were found during the 2017 deer season and wild deer in these areas are not known to have CWD. Because disease symptoms are slow to develop, DNR conducts sampling for 3 consecutive years. This is the second year for these areas and further testing will determine if the disease has spread to the wild.

Additional maps and CWD sampling stations can be found in the 2018 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations handbook. Complete CWD sampling, testing and disease management information is regularly updated on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd and details will be announced as they become available.

Carcass movement restrictions

Hunters who harvest deer outside the state are reminded that they cannot bring whole carcasses of any member of the deer family into Minnesota. These animals include but are not limited to white-tailed deer, mule deer, black-tailed deer, elk, caribou and moose. More information is available at mndnr.gov/deerimports.

More information

Hunters should review new deer hunting regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes before applying for the antlerless lottery.

"Hunters are particularly encouraged to explore the interactive deer permit mapping tool," Thorson said. "It provides permit area boundary details, as well as access to Detail Reports that contain deer management history and hunting land information for individual deer permit areas."

Regularly updated deer information, including the DNR's deer permit mapping tool, can be found online at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.

Learn mountain-biking basics at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area

Anyone looking for summer adventure may want to explore the mountain bike trails at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area during one of the three I Can Mountain Bike! programs on Saturday, Aug. 11-from 9 to 11:30 a.m., from noon to 2:30 p.m. or from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

During the first half of the program, participants will practice shifting, braking and body position

in a wide open setting. During the second half, they'll take a guided ride and explore the single-track mountain-bike trails.

Use of bikes and helmets will be included with the registration fee ($15/child and $25/adult). A Minnesota State Parks vehicle permit ($7/day or $35/year-round) is also required to enter the park.

Children should be at least 10 years old to participate and should be able to comfortably ride a bike on pavement prior to attending this program. Anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Reservations are required and can be made online or by phone.

• CLICK: mndnr.gov/reservations (24 hours a day).

• CALL: 866-857-2757 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, excluding holidays.

I Can Mountain Bike! is part of a series of skill-building programs offered by the DNR's Division of Parks and Trails. Other programs in the series introduce camping, fishing, paddling and archery.

The I Can! programs are made possible with support from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, near Brainerd, features 25 miles of single-track mountain bike trails. It also has an eight-mile paved trail.

For more information about any of the I Can! programs-including program dates, times, locations, and minimum age requirements-visit www.mndnr.gov/ican or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

Crow Wing Lake Improvement District annual meeting Aug. 25

The Crow Wing Lake Improvement District will hold its annual meeting at 9 a.m. Aug. 25 at the St. Mathias Community Center. Crow Wing Lake property owners are invited to a complimentary brunch following the meeting. The Crow Wing Lake Association will hold its fall meeting following adjournment of the LID Meeting.

Muskies Inc. lure auction is Aug. 14

The Brainerd Lakes Chapter of Muskies Inc. will hold its annual lure auction at 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Nisswa American Legion. Monthly meetings are the second Tuesday of each month. See www.brainerdmuskies.com for more information.

Groundwater sampling planned for Cass County Geologic Atlas, Part B

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will collect groundwater samples from about 90 wells in Cass County this summer for use in the Cass County Geologic Atlas, Part B.

The DNR will contact select owners by mail or phone for permission to sample their wells. Sampling involves measuring the depth to water and collecting a water sample for laboratory analysis. Participation is voluntary and owners will receive a report of the laboratory results.

Wells are selected based on geology, location, well depth and well construction. Participation helps create county maps and descriptions of groundwater distribution, movement, conditions, and the pollution sensitivity of aquifers. The final products will be available as printed maps, reports, and geographic information system (GIS) files on the web.

The atlas can be used to help identify viable water sources, evaluate supply, identify recharge sources and flow, manage sustainability, guide decisions for well and septic system construction, assist in well head protection for public water supply, and assess pollution sensitivity.

County Geologic atlases are produced in two parts over the course of several years. Part A covers the geology of a county, and was completed for Cass in 2018 by the Minnesota Geological Survey. Part B will expand on this information to cover the hydrogeology (groundwater) using the new well-sampling data. The DNR expects completion in 2020.

The DNR County Geologic Atlas program is funded in part by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. Funding also comes from the Clean Water Fund, which receives 33 percent of the sales tax revenue from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment approved by voters in November 2008.

A full description of this DNR program and status reports for atlas products is available at mndnr.gov/groundwatermapping.

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