Opportunities for the public to participate in deer population goal setting for large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota begin Monday, Feb. 2, in Monticello.
“Working with citizens to achieve conservation and management goals is integral to the mission of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “To make sure that goals are based on the broad range of public interest in deer, we use a public process to help determine how many deer to manage for in a given area.”
Each meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m. After a short presentation on deer populations and management, meeting participants may comment verbally, ask DNR staff questions and complete a written questionnaire.
Deer population goals will be set for 40 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas in 2015. People can view a map of the goal-setting areas at www.mndnr.gov/deer. They should attend a meeting for the goal-setting block that contains the deer permit areas in which they are interested. Meetings are scheduled for:
Block 1 – Superior Uplands Arrowhead
- Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015: Two Harbors High School Auditorium, 1640 Highway 2, Two Harbors.
- Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015: Cook County Community Center, 317 West 5th St., Grand Marais.
- Deer permit areas included: 117, 122, 126, 127, 180.
- Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015: Sanford Center, Lakeview Rooms, 1111 Event Center Drive NE, Bemidji.
- Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015: Deer River High School Commons, 101 1st Ave. NE, Deer River.
- Deer permit areas included: 169, 172, 184, 197, 210, 298.
Block 3 – Pine Moraines
- Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015: Century High School Cafetorium, 501 Helton Ave., Park Rapids.
- Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015: Franklin Auditorium, 1001 Kingwood St., Brainerd.
- Deer permit areas included: 241, 242, 246, 248, 251, 258, 259, 287.
Block 4 – East Central Uplands
- Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015: Hinckley High School, 201 Main St., Hinckley.
- Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015: Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Peterson Center, 300 Spirit River Drive South, Cambridge.
- Deer permit areas included: 152, 155, 156, 157, 159, 183, 221, 222, 225, 247, 249.
Block 5 – Sand-Plain Big Woods
- Monday, Feb. 2, 2015: Monticello Community Center, Mississippi Room, 505 Walnut St., Monticello.
- Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015: Spring Lake Township, Town Hall Community Center, 20381 Fairlawn Ave., Prior Lake.
- Deer permit areas included: 219, 223, 224, 227, 229, 235, 236, 285, 338, 339.
White-tailed deer are an important resource to the state of Minnesota. Nearly 500,000 individuals hunt deer and countless other people enjoy viewing deer in the state.
Deer managers look at deer density goals as a societal issue more so than a biological issue. Deer are capable of achieving high densities so are generally managed at a level of social tolerance rather than managed for the maximum number that habitat can support. This approach involves balancing desires of hunters, wildlife watchers and others who may support higher deer densities with those of farmers, foresters or others who experience conflicts with deer who may favor lower deer densities.
“The public participation process has been designed to include input from anyone who has an interest in deer management,” McInenly said. “Citizen advisory team members also will attend the public meetings for their goal-setting block so they can learn what others have to say.”
When public meetings for each goal-setting block are complete, each citizen advisory team will review relevant biological and social data as well as public input. Teams will recommend population goals for each deer permit area in their assigned areas. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the advisory teams’ recommendations before DNR makes its final decision about goals.
This is the third year DNR has worked with citizens to reassess and re-establish deer population goals in Minnesota. Goals for southwestern and a portion of northern Minnesota were set in 2012. Goals for southeastern Minnesota were set last year. Goals for the deer permit areas not part of the 2012-2015 processes will be set in 2016.