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Minnesota deer hunting rules more complicated for northeast part of state

Minnesota's hunting regulations for antlerless deer will more complicated this fall. (Clint Austin/Duluth News Tribune)

DULUTH - Hunters across Northeastern Minnesota will see reduced limits for deer in most permit areas this fall.

After a decreased deer harvest last fall following several years of liberal limits, allowing hunters to take two to five deer in most areas, Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials have become more conservative in issuing permits for antlerless deer.

This fall, 10 deer permit areas across Northeastern Minnesota have been designated "lottery" units, meaning hunters will have to apply by Sept. 10 in a lottery for permits to harvest antlerless deer. Last fall, just one unit in Northeastern Minnesota was designated a "lottery" unit.

Last year, 10 permit areas in Northeastern Minnesota were designated as "managed," meaning hunters could take up to two deer. This year, 16 areas are designated "managed."

Last fall, there were 17 permit areas in Northeastern Minnesota designated for "intensive" harvest, allowing hunters up to five deer. This year, there are three of those areas in Northeastern Minnesota.

That means hunters, when buying deer licenses this fall, should carefully check the new deer-zones map. Most hunters will find that the permit area in which they hunt will have a different harvest designation than it did last year.

Hunters who hunt in permit areas 104, 107, 115, 116, 122, 127, 154, 175, 174 and 183 will have to apply for antlerless deer permits by Sept. 10 for a chance to get one of those permits.

In addition, muzzleloader hunters must apply for an either-sex permit by Sept. 10 if they want to have a chance to harvest an antlerless deer in a lottery permit area.

In previous years, muzzleloader hunters who did not purchase a regular firearms license could take an antlerless deer in a lottery area without a permit.

This year, even people who only hunt the muzzleloader season must apply for an either-sex permit.