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MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #83                                                                              Nov. 4, 2013
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.
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IN THIS ISSUE
DNR anticipates good deer hunting season
Harvested deer can be donated for distribution to food shelves
DNR license center extends hours for deer opener
Minnesota deer facts
Baudette man faces numerous charges, fines, and restitution
Cold water is a dangerous to late season boaters



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


DNR anticipates good deer hunting season

Deer hunting should be good when Minnesota’s firearms hunting season opens Saturday, Nov. 9.

That’s the word from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), whose biologists report deer populations are stable across much of the state.

“Minnesota’s deer population is largely stable in the southern half of the state because of mild winters and generally conservative deer management,” said Leslie McInenly, the DNR’s big game program leader. “Mild winters result in more survival of adults, more fawns being born, and more deer in the state’s fields and forests the following hunting season.”

Winter, which is a significant source of mortality in Minnesota deer, ranged from moderate to severe in northern Minnesota. As a result, permit area designations across most of northern Minnesota are either lottery or hunter choice.

Hunters may find farmland conditions more challenging due to this year’s later corn harvest, which results in a substantial amount of standing corn.

Last year, Minnesota’s nearly 500,000 deer hunters harvested 186,000 deer. A similar harvest is expected this year.

McInenly said deer permit management designations that limit hunters to one, two or five deer largely are the same as last year. The limits reflect the department’s interest in rebuilding or maintaining the deer herd in certain portions of the state by managing the harvest.

Based on 2013 population estimates, almost 80 percent of permit areas are at population goal.  Antlerless and bonus deer permit availability decreases as overly abundant populations are brought into line with department goals.   
      
Minnesota’s deer harvest has varied widely over the past half century. In a historical context, too many deer were taken during the 1960s, forcing the closure of the deer season in 1971 and a rebuilding of the deer herd from the 1970s through the 1990s. The highest deer harvest occurred in 2003, when 290,000 deer were taken as part of an effort to reduce the deer herd. Today, the DNR manages the deer population based on goals established with public input.

“As the state’s deer population has been reduced to meet goals, more consistent and moderate harvests are anticipated,” McInenly said. “That said, population goals in some places were established nearly 10 years ago and the DNR is initiating a public process to revisit goals for permit areas statewide during the next few years.”

The DNR will be working with hunters and other stakeholders this winter to evaluate deer population goals for southeastern Minnesota. 

The firearms deer season concludes Sunday, Nov. 24, in Series 100 permit areas, which cover much of northeastern Minnesota. In Series 300 permit areas, which cover the southeastern corner of the state, the first season ends Sunday, Nov.17, but a late season opens Saturday, Nov. 23, and concludes Sunday, Dec. 1. Firearms season ends Sunday, Nov. 17, in Series 200 permit areas, which cover the remainder of the state.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            Nov. 4, 2013

Harvested deer can be donated for distribution to food shelves

Deer donated to food shelves can be processed at no cost to hunters thanks to a program coordinated by the Minnesota departments of natural resources and agriculture. Prior to 2007, hunters could donate deer to food shelves but had to pay processing costs.

“The venison donation program has multiple benefits,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “In portions of the state, hunters are encouraged to harvest multiple deer, the program provides hunters an avenue to donate the extra deer they harvest without having to pay processing costs. Demand for food assistance also has been increasing in recent years across Minnesota, and this is a great opportunity to provide locally-sourced meat to families in need.”

More details on the venison donation program, as well as a list of participating meat processors, are available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer/donation. Processors who accept deer are paid $70 to process each animal for food shelf distribution.

Funding for the program comes from surcharges placed on antlerless permits and non-resident hunting licenses.
 
To donate a deer, hunters will need to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Only whole carcasses with the hide on can be donated because processors will not accept cut and wrapped meat or portions of carcasses.
  • Information such as permit area of harvest and the DNR number will be collected for tracking purposes.
  • Processors can only accept carcasses for donation that are free from signs of illness, free of visible decomposition or contamination and properly identified with a Minnesota DNR registration tag.
  • Processors will reject deer for the donation program that appear to have been mishandled in any way.

Hunters are strongly advised to contact the processor prior to donating the deer. A list of processors who accept deer for the program is available online at http://go.usa.gov/WDk3.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        Nov. 4, 2013

DNR license center extends hours for deer opener

The Information Center and License Center at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) headquarters in St. Paul will work extended hours on opening weekend to handle additional phone calls from deer hunters.

Phone lines will be open on Friday, Nov. 8, until 6:30 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 9, from 8 a.m. to noon. DNR headquarters is located at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. The 2013 Minnesota firearms deer season begins Saturday, Nov. 9.

Hunters planning to go out the first weekend are encouraged to buy deer licenses in person because phone and internet purchases require that site tags be mailed. Delivery of those tags can take three to five business days.

A list of DNR license agents by county is available online at www.mndnr.gov/licenses/agents.html#agents.

Deer hunters are strongly encouraged to read the regulations book, which is available every place licenses are sold or online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.

License questions should be directed to the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us, 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           Nov. 4, 2013

Minnesota deer facts

Deer: the animal

  • Adult female white-tailed deer weigh about 145 lbs., males 170 lbs. – the average weight of female and male humans.
  • The biggest white-tailed deer ever recorded was a 500-pound Minnesota buck.
  • A whitetail’s home range is about one square mile.
  • Minnesota’s deer population is about 1 million deer. Texas is No. 1 with 3.5 million deer.

Deer: hunting 

  • Last year, 31 percent of Minnesota firearm hunters successfully harvested a deer. About 52 percent were antlered bucks.
  • 70 percent of Minnesota’s firearms deer harvest typically occurs during the first three or four days of the season.
  • The average hunter spends five days afield during Minnesota’s firearms deer season.
  • Last year’s total deer harvest was 186,000.
  • License options allow hunters to buy individual licenses for all the seasons and give hunters choices in where and when they can hunt deer.
  • Hunters can take two-to-five deer in many parts of the state where populations allow. 
  • Minnesota has averaged deer harvested 200,500 deer during the last five years. The Midwestern state with the largest deer harvest is Michigan at 425,000.
  • The largest typical whitetail buck ever taken in Minnesota had a Boone & Crockett score of 202; shot by John Breen in 1918 near Funkley, Minn.
  • Minnesota’s No. 1 non-typical whitetail buck had 43 points and a Boone & Crockett score of 268 5/8; shot by 17-year-old Mitch Vakoch in 1974. 

Deer: licenses

  • More than 725,000 deer hunting licenses and permits (all types) were sold in 2012.
  • 98 percent of deer licenses are sold to Minnesota residents.
  • The DNR Information Center remained open two hours later on the day before last year’s deer opener to answer more than 2,000 telephone inquiries, most of them related to the firearms opener.

Deer: economics

  • Nearly 500,000 deer hunters in Minnesota.
  • Direct retail sales - $234 million.
  • Salaries, wages, business owner income - $127 million.
  • State and local tax revenue - $28 million.
  • Number of directly supported jobs – 3,760.
  • Economic impact is greatest in Greater Minnesota.


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DNR NEWS - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            Nov. 4, 2013

Baudette man faces numerous charges, fines, and restitution

A Baudette man faces more than a dozen charges and heavy fines and restitution for illegal bear and deer activities, ending an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

During Minnesota’s fall bear hunting season, state conservation officer Robert Gorecki of Baudette located an active bear bait station belonging to alleged bear guide Keith R. Slick, 32, of Baudette.

Conflicting statements led to a search of Slick’s home where numerous bear capes and skulls, as well as deer antler sets were seized.

“There were no possession or registration tags found with any of the bears. The bears did not have any cuts in their ears that would indicate that a site tag was attached at any time in the past,” Gorecki said.

A check of DNR records indicated that Slick had never registered an adult male deer or bear in the past 10 years. DNR records only go back 10 years.

A cell phone seized in the investigation contained pictures of Slick with a dead bear. Numerous text messages were also found with Slick telling people about the bear he had shot. Other text messages from Slick stated that he had shot seven bears in his life.

Only two of the six antler sets recovered had site tags on them, but from individuals other than Slick.

“Mr. Slick had multiple unexplainable deer racks,” Gorecki said. “A third set of antlers were from an unregistered road-killed deer, and he was unsure where the remaining sets of antlers came from.”

Slick was charged Nov. 1 in Lake of the Woods County Court with two counts of possessing an over limit of bear, three instances of unlawful possession of deer, two gross misdemeanor charges of unlawfully transporting a bear (mandatory court appearance), failure to register a second bear, failure to tag a second bear, illegal possession of a car-killed deer, untagged big game animal (bear), no bear outfitter/guides license, unlawful transfer/lend or borrow of license, failure to register bear bait stations, hunting within 100 yards of an unregistered bear bait station, and placing bait for bear without a license. There were other violations, but the statute of limitations had expired on them.

Slick faces nearly $4,500 in fines and restitution. A firearm and bow were also seized during the investigation. If convicted Slick’s hunting privileges could be revoked for three years.

Slick is scheduled to appear in Lake of the Woods County Court in December.

Anyone witnessing a fish or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the 24-hour, toll-free Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093. Cell phone users can dial #TIP.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                Nov. 4, 2013

Cold water is a dangerous to late season boaters

As Minnesotans enjoy their last bit of time on water before the ice, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is warning boaters, paddlers and waterfowl hunters not to let their guard down.

Right now, water temperatures on Lake Minnetonka and the Saint Croix River are hovering around 40 degrees.

“Forty degrees is cold,” said Kara Owens, DNR boat and water safety specialist. “Cold water can prove dangerous, or even deadly, especially if people don’t consider the consequences of falling into frigid water this time of year.”

So far this year, 12 people have died in boating accidents in Minnesota, compared to 14 deaths this time last year. One person has died during the late boating season (October to November), compared to four deaths this time last year.

“It’s more important than ever that every boater wears a life jacket every time they step on a boat,” said Owens.

She added, a life jacket will not only keep you afloat, but always keep you warm if you fall into cold water. 

The DNR recommends these safety tips for late season boaters:

  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket; even good swimmers need to wear one.
  • Don’t go boating alone; boating safety increases with numbers.
  • Keep an eye on the weather and go to shore if the wind picks up.
  • If boat becomes swamped or capsizes, try to re-board and stay with the craft if possible and await rescue.

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This email was sent to editor@woodsnews.com on behalf of: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources · 500 Lafayette Road · Saint Paul, MN 55155 · 1-888-MINNDNR  

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