2003 Deer Season Outlook

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After mild winters five out of the past six years, Minnesota’s deer population has continued to increase, particularly in northern-forested areas hit the hardest by the back-to-back severe winters of 1995-1996 and 1996-1997. The pre-hunt population of deer this fall is estimated at 1.14 million, up nearly 50,000 from last year.

The firearms deer season will open Nov. 8, archery deer Sept. 13, and muzzleloader deer Nov. 29.

There will also be more opportunities for youth deer hunters this fall. A new half-price youth deer license with a tag replaces the old youth license that came without a tag. The new youth license, for hunters age 12 through 15, lets the youth take and tag their own deer, rather than having an adult tag the deer for them. In addition, special youth deer hunts are being offered at Camp Ripley, Arden Hills, and the Whitewater State Game Refuge.

The 2003 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook, including regulations, quotas and special hunt information, will be available at license agents by Aug. 1. Deer hunters interested in obtaining either-sex or special area permits are encouraged to apply early.

The application deadline for either-sex and special hunt permits is Thursday, Sept. 4. Hunters interested in these permits may apply at any of the 1,800 Electronic Licensing System license agents throughout Minnesota, beginning in early August. They may also apply over the Internet at www.dnr.state.mn.us or by ELS-Telephone by calling 1-888-665-4236 and paying an added $3.50 convenience fee.