Thirty-five Minnesota state parks will be holding special resource management deer hunts this fall. Access to the public will be varied around the state during the special hunts. Fifteen parks will be open to all visitors during this time and eight will have limited public access. Twelve parks will be closed to the public during the special hunts, which are generally over the course of one or two weekends. The special hunts will include regular firearms and muzzleloader options as well as two archery hunts.
Detailed information on access to Minnesota state parks during the special deer hunts is available online at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/deerhunt.html .
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC DURING THE SPECIAL HUNT
Fifteen Minnesota state parks, predominately in the northwestern and southeastern parts of the state, will remain open to all visitors during special youth hunts that will take place in late-October and regular firearms hunts that will take place in November.
The state parks that will be open to the public during the special hunt are Buffalo River, Flandrau, Forestville/Mystery Cave, Glacial Lakes, Great River Bluffs, Hayes Lake, Itasca, Lake Bemidji, Lake Bronson, Lake Carlos, Lake Louise, Maplewood, Old Mill, Whitewater, and Zippel Bay.
All park visitors should be aware of the special hunts and should wear blaze orange or brightly colored clothing if they plan to recreate within a park holding a special hunt. Visitors should check for hunt-related information at the park contact station or office during these time periods, and look for signage related to the hunt.
LIMITED ACCESS DURING THE SPECIAL HUNT
Eight state parks, mostly in the northeastern part of the state, will be partially closed to non-hunting visitors. Some state parks along the North Shore, for example, will remain open to the public and closed to hunting south and east of Highway 61. These include Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse, Tettegouche, and Judge C.R. Magney state parks.
Other state parks, including Interstate, Jay Cooke, Savanna Portage, and Soudan Underground Mine, will have use restrictions specific to the individual state park. Areas of Jay Cooke State Park, for example, including the campground, River Inn and Swinging Bridge, will remain open to the public and closed to hunting. Specific restrictions for the other parks can be found at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/deerhunt.html .
The Minnesota state parks that will have limited access during the special hunt include: Gooseberry Falls, Interstate, Jay Cooke, Judge C.R. Magney, Savanna Portage, Soudan Underground Mine, Split Rock Lighthouse, and Tettegouche.
CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC DURING THE SPECIAL HUNTS
Twelve Minnesota state parks will be entirely closed to non-hunting visitors during the special hunts with the exception of deer hunters with a special permit.
The Minnesota state parks that will be closed to the public during the special hunt are Beaver Creek Valley, Crow Wing, Frontenac, Lake Maria, Lake Shetek, Nerstrand Big Woods, Rice Lake (waterfowl hunters may still enter park to use the water access site), Saint Croix, Scenic, Sibley, Wild River, and William O'Brien.
ONGOING RESEARCH ON HARVEST REGULATIONS
Along with the Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Division of Parks and Recreation is in the fourth year of a research project evaluating the effectiveness of alternative harvest regulations on deer populations. The purpose of these regulations is to increase the harvest of antlerless deer.
One of the regulations being evaluated is the earn-a-buck option where hunters get to take a buck once they’ve harvested an antlerless deer. The antlerless deer and the buck must both be harvested in the same park. The 11 earn-a-buck state parks are Beaver Creek Valley, Crow Wing, Frontenac, Great River Bluffs, Lake Bemidji, Lake Louise, Lake Maria, Maplewood, Saint Croix, Whitewater, and Wild River.
The other regulation that is being evaluated is an antler-point restriction where, depending on the park being hunter, a deer must have a minimum of either three or four points on one side in order to be taken. For example, at Itasca and Savanna Portage state parks, a buck must have at least three antler points on one side to be taken. At Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park, the requirement is at least four antler points on one side.
For more information about access to Minnesota state parks during this fall's special deer hunts, visit http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/deerhunt.html .