Deer zones in central Minnesota will better reflect habitat and deer population goals under a boundary realignment announced this week by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The boundary changes were proposed and discussed at seven public meetings held throughout the state this winter. The DNR also took written comments on the changes.
"We received great input from our deer hunters,"¯ said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator. "These changes will help us improve management of Minnesota's deer population."¯
The last time zones were changed in central Minnesota was 1978 and deer habitat and populations have changed significantly.
Changes for 2006 are:
Ā·Shift permit areas 410, 411, 413, 414, 415, 419 and 429 into Zone 2. Firearms hunters in these areas will now be able to harvest a deer of either sex throughout the nine-day season with a regular Zone 2 firearms license. Previously, many hunters in this area purchased multi-zone buck and bonus permits to hunt the entire Zone 4 season structure. Those same hunters will now be able to hunt the whole season for just the price of a regular deer license.
The following boundary changes were made to align zones between the agricultural and forested portions of the state.
- Permit areas 417 and 418 will be split along Highway 55. The northern portion will be placed in Zone 2 and the southern portion will remain in Zone 4.
- Permit area 412 will be split along I-94. The northern portion will become part of the new permit area 413 and be placed in zone 2. The southern portion will remain in zone 4.
Deer season changes will be included in the 2006 Hunting Regulations, available this summer wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.