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Photo by Brian Hansel Orange-clad hunters will be spotted in stands around Wadena Nov. 5-13 as the Minnesota firearms season takes place in central Minnesota.

Orange gang will flood Minnesota

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Orange gang will flood Minnesota
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The rifles and slug guns come out this weekend as the Minnesota firearm deer hunting season begins a 15-day run.

The state's deer herd is in fairly good shape despite a long, hard winter according to DNR wildlife manager Rob Naplin in Park Rapids.

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"I think we're near goal in all our permit areas so I think there will be adequate numbers out there," Naplin said.

Minnesota has a fair number of bow hunters and a growing number of muzzleloader hunters but the next nine days in the Wadena area will be dominated by firearms hunting. Blaze orange will be the fashion and gunfire will be heard in every direction. It is a time for both hunters and non-hunters to take safety very seriously.

Perhaps the best news for firearms hunters is the weather report.

"The weather is going to be good," Naplin said. "It's a big determinant of success."

Wadena County may be the poorest in the state when it comes to income but it is one of the richest in white-tailed deer. It is deer heaven because of its strategic location between Minnesota's northern forests and central and southern cropland. It affords the deer cover and food in close proximity. There are also thousands of acres of swampland to take refuge in when the shooting starts.

When you are talking deer density in Minnesota these days you are talking about a fat strip through the central part of the state starting at Fergus Falls and spreading northeastward toward Grand Rapids and southeastward toward the Twin Cities. DNR records show that hunters took 5.3-8.9 deer per square mile in kill blocks 241, 240 and 214 last year - all of which touch on Wadena.

New for 2011

• Chronic Wasting Disease. The discovery of the disease in southeast Minnesota has prompted several regulatory changes.

• New CWD management area. A new CWD management area has been created. It has been assigned deer area 602.

• New deer management designation. A new deer area designation has been created called "Hunter Choice". Hunters will be allowed to take one either-sex deer per year in one of these areas. There is no lottery application.

• Firearm and muzzleloader lottery either-sex permits. If successful in the lottery, hunters can use their permit in either the firearm or muzzleloader season, provided they have a valid license for that season.

• There is no early antlerless deer season this year. The early antlerless season will be considered annually when formulating deer management recommendations. Early antlerless hunting will be used if necessary in 2012.

• There are no youth-only antlerless areas this year. DNR will continue to monitor harvest and population size and may use this designation in the future.

• The legislature has eliminated the 16 foot height restriction for permanent deer stands. However, it is against the law to build a stand with walls and/or a roof on state forest lands. Please see Minnesota Statute 89.20 for additional information: www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=89.20.

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Brian Hansel
(218) 631-2561
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