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Deer hunters will have more opportunities this fall: Licenses available now; deadline to apply for antlerless permits is Sept. 6

Deer season is coming: A buck and a doe check out a photographer. Minnesota DNR photo

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.

Hunters can now buy deer licenses and apply to the lottery for antlerless deer permits. 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.

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.

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.