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Expect a good deer season in Minnesota, and get that license early

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

-- Hunters who venture into field and forest for Minnesota's firearms deer season can expect a good deer season and ample hunting opportunities.

Nearly 500,000 people are expected to participate in the firearms deer season which opens Nov. 6. Last year, 32 percent of Minnesota's firearms deer hunters were successful.

Minnesota's whitetail deer population is about 1 million. In a historical context, too many deer were taken during the 1960s. Rebuilding the deer herd began in 1970s and concluded in the 1990s. Now DNR manages the herd toward population goals established with public input.

As population goals are met, particularly in overpopulated areas, hunting regulations move from liberal to conservative and are adjusted based on deer management needs.

Minnesota's deer harvest peaked in 2003 at 290,000.  The DNR continues to issue fewer either-sex permits than it did seven years ago. The DNR expects the harvest to be similar to the 194,000 deer harvested in 2009.

A big difference this year compared to last is the majority of standing corn will be cut by the time the season opens. Last year, 80 percent of the state's corn crop was standing on opening day. As standing cover, cornfields can significantly impact deer harvest.

Hunters are encouraged to buy licenses early to avoid long lines and any system issues associated with the high sales volume.

Deer licenses can be purchased for $27 at DNR license agents, or by phone at (888)665-4236) or online.

There are additional fees for telephone and internet transactions. Hunters who purchase licenses by phone or online will receive their deer tags by mail, which can take three to five business days to arrive.

The Information Center and License Center at DNR headquarters in St. Paul will work extended hours on opening weekend to handle additional phone calls from deer hunters. Phone lines will be open Nov. 5 until 8 p.m., and, Nov. 6 from 8 a.m. to noon.

License questions should be directed to the DNR Information Center at (651)296-6157 or toll free at (888)646-6367.

The firearms deer season ends in northern Minnesota Nov. 21, and on Nov. 14 in all other parts of the state. A late season in southeastern Minnesota from Watertown in the north to Caledonia in the south opens Nov. 20, and closes Nov. 28.

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