Unless you're Elmer Fudd and all you care about is nabbing that "scwewy wabbit" however you can, you'll need to be well versed on the ins and outs of hunting before you climb into the stand. Several new regulations apply to this fall's season, and wise hunters will take note of the changes from last year.
All adult muzzleloader and firearm hunters in lottery areas will need to apply for a lottery permit if they desire to shoot an antlerless deer. Only the hunters that win will be allowed to shoot does in said areas. All hunters in these locations should apply for either-sex permits by Sept. 10.
When purchasing licenses, firearm hunters will be asked whether they prefer to hunt does or bucks. This question is for surveying purposes only.
In limited youth antlerless areas, only a certain number of either-sex permits will be available for those under 18. Adults hunting in those areas will only be allowed to go after bucks. Those who hunt solely during the muzzleloader season will receive no exemptions from this statute. Applicable areas are listed on the DNR website and in hunting regulation handbooks.
Another addition to this year's hunting regulations allows any resident who has been discharged from active military service to acquire a free deer hunting license, which will be usable for both does and bucks.
Antlers must now remain attached to the heads of bucks until the deer have been registered.
This fall, the Bemidji State Game Refuge will only be for bear hunting and deer hunting with either a bow and arrow or a muzzleloader.
Baiting rules have also been revised for this year's hunting season. The definition has been changed to: "grain, fruit, vegetables, nuts, hay, or other food that is capable of attracting or enticing deer and that has been placed by a person," according to 2009's Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook. It does not include salt, minerals or liquid scents.
Hunters will be held in violation if found hunting near bait or feed if they are aware of (or have reason to be aware of). If a hunter is near land that has been baited, but was in no way involved with the baiting, that person is not breaking any regulations.
Areas that were baited will be considered baited for ten days following complete eradication of all feed from the location. There are, however, no restrictions on food that was not placed by a person, or is naturally occurring due to legal farming practices. Forest and orchard management, wildlife food planting, and other land management activities also are not considered baiting.
A former provision allowing bird feeders holding grain or nuts at least six feet above ground will no longer be in effect so as to not interfere with baiting regulations.
For more information on hunting and trapping laws, regulations, and changes from previous years, visit the DNR's website at www.mndnr.gov.