Minnesota DNR Forecasts Excellent Deer Season

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The 2006 firearms deer season will begin Saturday, Nov. 4 and end Sunday, Nov. 19. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Office in Tower is forecasting another excellent deer season for Northern St. Louis and Northern Lake counties. Wildlife managers report an abundant deer herd across the area and good field conditions for hunter access.

The deer harvest in the area is expected to equal or exceed the past two seasons. The 16-day Zone 1A season in northeastern Minnesota will straddle the peak of the annual white-tail breeding period. Hunters can expect good deer movement as the rutting season progresses.

Liberal antlerless regulations have produced the three all-time highest deer harvests in the past three years. Two consecutive moderately severe winters and increased antlerless harvest in 2004-2006 have thinned the deer herd in some locales within our area, but the deer population remains just as strong in other areas.

  • 2005: 5,041 bucks; 3,983 antlerless; 9,024 2005 TOTAL
  • 2004: 5,772 bucks; 4,315 antlerless; 10,087 2004 TOTAL
  • 2003: 5,929 bucks; 5,568 antlerless; 11,487 2003 TOTAL
  • 2002: 5,095 bucks; 4,499 antlerless; 7,979 2002 TOTAL
  • 2001: 4,723 bucks; 2,704 antlerless; 7,427 2001 TOTAL

Five-year average:

5,335 bucks; 4,232 antlerless; 9,247 5-YEAR AVERAGE

Bonus tags available

Deer management units 115 (Lake Vermilion), 178 (South of the Iron Range) 175 (North of the Iron Range), 107 (West of Cook and Orr) and 168 (West of Hwy 65, Itasca County) continue to have high deer numbers and bonus doe tags are available over the counter. Fawn production was good in these units in 2005 and 2006; therefore, there is a need to continue to thin the deer herds in these units. Bonus antlerless permits ($13.00) are available over the counter, at any time during the season, and there is no waiting period.