Nearly half a million firearms deer hunters are preparing for the season that opens Saturday, Nov. 9 and offers opportunity to spend time with friends and family, find adventure outdoors and put venison in the freezer.

Hunters help keep deer populations in line with population goals across the state, and wildlife managers report good opportunities to harvest deer. However, they also caution hunters that scouting could be more important this year due to wet access and habitat conditions over the spring and summer.

Hunters need to know the boundaries of the deer permit areas and any chronic wasting disease (CWD) zones where they hunt.

Rain and wet conditions have persisted throughout much of the fall season. Hunters may find water in areas that are typically dry this time of year and forest road access may be difficult or impassable in some locations.

Wildlife managers are reporting very good fawn production this year. Healthy body weight and condition can make it hard to discern fawns from yearlings in some cases. Hunters will see some does with single fawns as they head afield, and there will be plenty of does out there with two fawns as well.

With a later frost this year and plenty of green browse to feed on, deer should be healthy going into the winter.

Archery harvest has been slow due to warm and very wet conditions during the early season, but is picking up in October.

Saturated soils and flooded field roads have all but halted crop harvest, which could play into opening weekend strategy for hunters.

A deep snow pack in late winter resulted in reports of deer mortality – mostly fawns – over a large portion of southwestern Minnesota. As such, wildlife managers took a more conservative approach in setting antlerless permit numbers.

The true wild card entering the firearm deer season will be the continued trend of abundant rainfall and river flooding. Hunters will encounter and notice hundreds of thousands of acres of unplanted fields across the southern region. 

To learn more visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

– Image courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural resources