Deer hunters in southeastern Minnesota need to be aware that bucks must have at least one four-point antler in order to be legal for harvest and hunters no longer are allowed to tag bucks shot by other hunters.
These regulations were first implemented in 2010 and remain unchanged in 2011.
Changes are in effect only in deer permit areas 338-349, which comprise southeastern Minnesota. They are not effective in the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone, deer permit area 602.
To be legal, a buck needs to have four points on one side only, which does not mean an eight-point deer. The restriction is expected to increase the number of antlerless deer harvested because a significant proportion of males will be protected and some hunters will opt to take an antlerless deer.
Youth ages 10-17 are exempt from the antler-point restriction. Adult hunters are not allowed to tag a buck for youth hunters. Research has shown that a positive early experience is critical to retaining young hunters.
“Our hope is that providing youth in the southeast an opportunity for early success will encourage them to be lifelong deer hunters,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife populations and regulation programs manager.
Elimination of cross-tagging of bucks, commonly referred to as party hunting, is intended to help increase the number of mature bucks.
“Southeastern Minnesota’s cross-tagging regulation only requires a person to take and tag his or her own buck,” Merchant said. “Hunters still can take and tag antlerless deer for others in their party.”
University of Minnesota wildlife students will be staffing some deer registration stations in southeastern Minnesota to collect data on harvested bucks. Hunters must register their deer in-person and are strongly encouraged to let students take measurements as the data allows DNR to assess buck age structures over time and make sound biologically based decisions.