DNR Seeks Online Input on Deer Populations

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Offering public input on deer populations in northeast and north central Minnesota will be more convenient thanks to a unique online survey the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has posted on its Web site.

A presentation and survey have been posted at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

The presentation will guide viewers through the deer population goal setting process and collect input through a survey at the end. Online users can either click the banner ad on the right side of the DNR's home page or go directly to the site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

"We hope this will increase the number of participants, since people can view the information at their convenience," said Michael DonCarlos, DNR wildlife program manager. "Public participation is a critically important component of this project and will help DNR make sound decisions on deer populations." Previously, comments on deer populations have been collected in writing, by e-mail or at public input meetings.

In early 2006, DNR worked with stakeholder teams in these areas to help set the future direction on deer populations. The teams represented such interests as deer hunters, landowners, businesses, counties and conservation and environmental groups. The teams met twice to recommend if deer populations should be increased, decreased or stabilized for each of the forested permit areas, according to Lou Cornicelli, DNR Big Game Program coordinator.

"Deer management today must take into account many social and biological factors," said Cornicelli. "I think this process went a long way towards giving us some direction on where to take deer populations."

Cornicelli noted while the teams made very good recommendations, there still needs to be a process to obtain information from the general public. "We recognize that not everyone is affiliated with a group," Cornicelli said.

The first page shows a map from which users will select their area of interest. People can click the area on the map to access a presentation. (The presentations are in PDF format, requiring Adobe Acrobat to view them.)

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

After viewing the presentation, there will be a link on the last slide to a brief survey. Users should click the button, fill out the survey and then click "submit." The responses will be saved in a database.

The DNR will leave the online presentation active for approximately one month. 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, Saint Paul, MN 55107.