Those helicopters that will soon be zooming and hovering over parts of the landscape in southeast Minnesota will be no cause for alarm, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) advises.
"We'll be counting deer," said Bob Osborn, DNR wildlife biologist at the Farmland Wildlife Populations and Research Station at Madelia. "This winter we'll be conducting aerial surveys in permit areas 342, 347, and 349. Generally speaking, that is Fillmore, Houston, and Wabasha counties," Osborn noted.
Surveys are scheduled to be conducted between Jan. 24 and March 31. The exact timing is dependent upon weather conditions. Approximately six to eight inches of snow cover is needed in order to improve visibility so that deer are not missed.
Each spring DNR research biologists and area wildlife managers meet to determine the number of antlerless permits to be offered during the upcoming deer hunting season. One of the tools used during this process is the Farmland Deer Model.
"Like any tool, models must be periodically evaluated to determine if they are performing adequately," Osborn explained. If they are not, they need to be modified or recalibrated. It's been many years since these permit areas were last surveyed and the data collected will help us evaluate the performance of the model in these areas."