2017 Minnesota Deer Forecast

2017 Minnesota Deer Forecast

2017 Minnesota Deer Forecast Feature
Photo By Ron Sinfelt


The overall white-tailed deer harvest in Minnesota has increased now for two seasons in a row, and there's little evidence that would suggest the trend won't continue when the state's half-million or so hunters head into the fields and woods this fall. Following a decades-low kill of fewer than 140,000 deer in 2014, the total kill rose in both 2015 and 2016 — a trend that state deer managers expected as a result of relatively mild winters as well as conservative deer-hunting regulations that were meant in most parts of the state to increase the numbers in the whitetail herd.


  The state's firearms deer season kicks off Saturday, Nov. 4. It runs through Nov. 12 in the 200 and 300 series of permit areas, and through Nov. 19 in the 100 series. The 3B firearms season in the southeastern part of the state runs Nov. 18-26, and the statewide muzzleloader season is Nov. 25 to Dec. 10. Wildlife officials don't have a specific estimate of the number of deer our hunters will kill, but they believe it will be higher than it was in 2016, as long as the weather cooperates.

"I suspect it will be a good fall for Minnesota's deer hunters," said Adam Murkowski, big-game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "Hunters did well last fall and harvested a good number of deer. If you look at individual permit areas and aggregates of permit areas, it becomes clear that the harvest strategy last year still allowed for deer-population growth. It's important going into this fall that we take steps to manage deer in a way that keeps the herd healthy. That's going to result in increased opportunities for hunters. It's in everyone's best interest to have an appropriate number of deer out there on the landscape."


[caption id="attachment_88248" align="aligncenter" width="648"]2017 Minnesota Deer Forecast Map Click To Enlarge[/caption]

Following high harvests in the early to mid-2000s — including in 2003, when hunters killed more than 290,500 whitetails, which remains a record-high harvest for Minnesota — severe winters played a role in holding down the deer population, especially in the northern part of Minnesota. The total kill in 2014 was less than half what it was in 2003. (It's worth noting, however, that even following that record-setting 2003 season, DNR wildlife officials said a harvest that high wasn't sustainable.) While the statewide deer population currently is trending upward, there are some concerns, too, Murkowski said.

<blockquote>"The loss of (Conservation Reserve Program grassland acres) and other habitat is very concerning, especially in the farmland portion of the state," he said. "If you look just at the cover, there's already not a lot of cover available in some of those permit areas (in western and southern Minnesota), so if you take away even more, that's a tough spot to be in. That doesn't translate into more hunting opportunities. There are a lot of concerns with some habitat issues that's gone — or is about to go — and what they mean for deer and deer management going forward."<blockquote/>

Recommended for You

Records

No Kidding: Angler Smashes Record for Lake Trout

Scott Bernarde - May 21, 2019

The Pennsylvania man's trophy fish was more than two pounds heavier than the previous record.

Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

Hogs

Quick Tips: How to Spot and Stalk a Hog

Ian Nance - May 28, 2019

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Costa's Award Winning Waterwoman Sunglasses

Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about all of the great features that made the new Waterwoman frame a big winner at the 2019 ICAST show as well as out on the water.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Berkley's Frittside Crankbaits

World Fishing Network show host Chad LaChance had a chance to visit with legendary crankbait master David Fritts about his new Frittside crankbaits from Berkley. LaChance, host of the Fishful Thinker on WFN, also got a few cranking tips from Fritts, the former Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper - April 02, 2015

We all have our "swear by" bait for catfish. For me, it is chicken liver, live shad or my...

Other Freshwater

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper - April 21, 2005

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

See More Stories

More Whitetail

Whitetail

Ground Zero: Pennsylvania's Record Bucks

Mike Bleech - February 13, 2019

Boone and Crockett harvest records reveal the best places in Pennsylvania to harvest a giant...

Whitetail

Ground Zero: West Virginia's Record Bucks

Larry Case - February 16, 2019

Fayette and Kanawha counties are the place in West Virginia for big bucks if you are up to the...

Whitetail

Ground Zero: New York's Record Bucks

Stephen Carpenteri - February 08, 2019

Boone and Crockett harvest records reveal the best place in New York to harvest a giant...

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×