Minnesota Seeks Input on Farmland Deer Population

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Public input on the future of deer populations in the state's farmland zone is being collected through an online survey posted on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Web site.

The survey is the final part of a statewide deer population goal-setting project that began in 2005. Last year, DNR wildlife managers collected nearly 1,700 online comments on deer populations in the forested zone through a similar survey. Previously, comments on deer populations were collected at public meetings.

"By using the Internet to make the process more convenient, we hope to give more people a chance to comment," said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife program manager. "Public participation is a critically important component of this project and will help DNR make sound decisions on deer populations."

Earlier this year, DNR worked with stakeholder teams to help set the future direction on deer populations. The teams represented such interests as deer hunters, landowners, businesses, counties, and conservation/environmental groups. The teams met twice to recommend if deer populations should be increased, decreased, or stabilized for each of the farmland permit areas.

Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator, said public comments and recommendations made by the teams would be used to finalize deer population goals. "Deer management today must take into account many social and biological factors," he said. "This process goes long way towards giving us some direction on where to take deer populations."

The online presentation and survey may be accessed from the DNR Web site by clicking the banner ad on the right side of the screen.

The survey may be accessed directly at www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/deer/dgs/index.html.

On the opening page there will be some information on the goal setting process and the steps for working through the information:

- The first page will show a map from to select an area of interest. Click the area on the map and it will take people to a presentation. Note: The presentations are in PDF format. People will need Adobe Acrobat to view them.

- The presentation explains the deer goal setting process, a brief history of deer management, and finally the team recommendations for the area selected.

- After viewing the presentation, there will be a link on the last slide to a brief survey we'd like people to complete. Click the button, fill out the survey, and then click "submit". The responses will be saved in a database.

The Web site will be active through August. Once the public input is summarized, a decision on deer populations will be made for each permit area.

Written comments may be mailed to Lou Cornicelli, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55107.