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Firearms deer season starts Nov. 7

A trio of whitetail deer forage for food in a field near Wolf Lake earlier this autumn.

Hunters will have to get used to taking less deer in the area with the start of the firearm season on Saturday (Nov. 7.)

It's a weeklong dash that ends Nov. 15.

Department of Natural Resources officials changed the deer area designations on several zones in the Detroit Lakes area.

"It's all about deer population," said DNR wildlife manager Earl Johnson.

Johnson said that the deer zones receive their designation after the public has a chance to offer input.

"The population areas are determined by how we would best manage those deer areas," he said.

He said that some residents might want more deer in a specific area and other areas may want the deer population reduced. Other groups such as farmers and car insurance companies also give their input, Johnson said. Zone 244 east of Detroit Lakes had the most drastic change as it went from an intensive deer area to a lottery area.

Hunters can shoot one buck statewide, but are limited to one antlerless deer if they are chosen for the lottery. Hunters with the proper permits can take two anterless deer in managed areas, and up to five in intensive areas.

Another zone to get downgraded, Zone 297 north of Detroit Lakes, went from managed to a lottery area.

Zones 241 and 243 southeast of Frazee are the closest intensive zones in the area. Most of the zones north of Highway 2 in the northwest corner of the state are in intensive areas, with a few exceptions.

Johnson said that area north of Twin Valley has experienced high deer populations for over 20 years.

The archery deer season has been ongoing since Sept. 19 and runs until Dec. 31.

The muzzle-loading season starts Nov. 28 and goes until Dec. 13.

While hunting in general has been considered on the decline due to fewer young people taking up the sport, Johnson said judging hunting's popularity at the present time couldn't be pinned down.

"It's really hard to say," Johnson said.

There are efforts to get more youth involved, as 10- and 11-year-olds can get a free license. They have to be supervised at arms-length by an adult.

"It's good to introduce new faces to the hunting fraternity," Johnson said.

Safety is always a concern.

This year, Johnson said, the push is to educate hunters on being aware of their surrounding, especially with corn still in the fields in most places.

"It's a dangerous situation for hunting," he said.

That's because corn stalks don't stop bullets as well as trees in wooded areas.

"Those bullets go through an awful lot of corn before they stop," Johnson said.

The key to hunting safely is to be aware of where your hunting partners are. Johnson said that members of hunting parties should come up with their calls to recognize one another before they embark. He said that it would be horrible if someone accidentally shot their father, son, grandfather, or grandson, when such a mistake could be prevented.

"It's a mistake that will haunt hunters for the rest of their lives," Johnson said. "They need to be thinking about that."

Lakes Sports Shop gearing up for season

It's an extended Christmas Season for Lakes Sports Shop in Detroit Lakes with the start of the firearm deer season.

"It means quite a bit," said salesman Marty Kumpula. "We sell a lot of accessories and a lot of clothes, and guns. It helps."

It provides a significant boost to the bottom line.

Kumpula said that it really ramps up beginning this week.

"The first of November, we'll be going pretty good," he said.

October is generally the big month as hunters want to get their license, gear, ammo and maybe a new gun.

Kumpula said that the blaze orange gear was brought out in early October. Calls and other gear came out in September with the start of archery season.

Licenses have been a popular item. "Licenses have been selling," Kumpula said. "We're pretty steady on them."

Besides selling goods, Kumpula said that the sales staff provides a lot of advice. With the change of many zones around to the area to lottery, hunters need to be informed beforehand.

"We pretty much all memorized the books," Kumpula said.

More information on deer hunting season is available on the DNR's Web site at