Hunters in 16 permit areas in Minnesota have an opportunity to take up to five antlerless deer during a special early deer hunt that runs from Thursday, Oct. 15 to Sunday, Oct. 18.
Locally the hunt areas include 214, an area south east of Wadena, along the south side of Hwy 10 continuing from Motley to Little Falls and including areas along Hwy 71 south from Wadena to Long Prairie. Other permit areas include 213, 215, 341, 342, 343, 344, 604, 605, 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649, 655. This harvest limit of five deer is in addition to the statewide bag limit.
To participate in the early antlerless season, hunters must possess an archery, firearm or muzzleloader license and at least one valid early antlerless permit. They must use weapons matching the parent license used to purchase their early antlerless permit.
These hunt areas were identified as areas in need of deer herd reductions as some of the areas had additional detections of chronic wasting disease, while others, like 214, have numbers of deer far above the population goal. Crop damage complaints have also increased in the area, according to a DNR wildlife report.
"This year’s harvest designation of intensive (3 deer limit) plus early antlerless season, is meant to continue providing opportunity to manage deer locally, and move the overall deer population towards goal. Harvest and population data for this permit area suggest several more years of increased antlerless harvest will be required to decrease the population," according to a wildlife manager report from Beau Liddell, wildlife manager in Little Falls.
This hunt coincides with the youth hunt dates which allow youth to take one deer of either sex using a youth license. Youth can also take part in the special early hunt after their youth license is filled.
Check your specific area to determine limits and legal firearms as they can vary from each permit area. More information can be found at the Minnesota DNR deer page.