The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages firearms deer hunters to purchase their deer licenses now to avoid the rush that will occur before the general firearms deer season opener on Nov. 8.
Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator, said that because of the new system of allocating either-sex deer hunting opportunity, most hunters did not need to apply in early September for antlerless permits. Deer license sales historically have two peaks: one right before the lottery application deadline and the other right before the firearms deer season.
Because most hunters did not need to purchase licenses early to apply for either-sex permits, this year's first peak in license sales was small. So far, only 116,000 of Minnesota's 440,000 firearms deer hunters have purchased their licenses. That means more than 300,000 licenses will be purchased in the next few weeks.
Cornicelli said hunters who wait until the first week in November to purchase licenses could experience extremely long lines as well as potential slowdowns caused by high volumes of transactions. He said that can easily be avoided by purchasing licenses now.
Licenses purchased after the season opens are not valid until the second day after purchase.
Hunters, including youth hunters, are reminded they will need to have a social security number on their customer record file or provide their social security number at the time they purchase a deer license to meet federal requirements.
Information on the new permit system is available on the DNR's deer hunting Web site at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/deer/2003/index.html
EITHER-SEX PERMITS MAILED THIS WEEK
Either-sex deer permits and permits for special deer hunts will be mailed to successful applicants this week. Hunters should expect to receive permits in the mail starting Oct. 13, which is two weeks earlier than last year.
The DNR will also be posting the customer's application information on the DNR Web site starting Oct. 13. Those who do not want to wait for the mail can input their driver's license or MDNR number on the Web site to determine the status of their either-sex application.
A total of 31,625 either-sex permits were offered to hunters this year. The number of either-sex permits is no longer comparable to previous years because most hunters can now purchase either-sex permits over the counter. In addition, special deer hunting permits were available in 28 areas, such as parks, where deer hunting is necessary to control populations but where hunter numbers need to be limited.