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DNR invites conversation about deer at area open houses

Ever wonder how the DNR sets deer hunting regulations? Or how you can provide input on deer management in your area? Local wildlife managers across the state are inviting the public to come to open-house meetings to ask their deer questions and learn about the state's most popular mammal.

These local, open-house-style meetings are a way to encourage discussions about deer and deer management, enhance local relationships and foster two-way communication between the DNR and the public. The DNR began the meetings last year with the release of its statewide deer management plan.

"We're excited to hold these open houses and encourage conversations and shared learning between our local area wildlife staff and the communities they serve," said Leslie McInenly, the DNR's wildlife populations and regulations manager, who coordinated the state's deer management plan. "We had great discussions during our area events last year and want to build on that foundation." The DNR encourages anyone interested in our wildlife management to attend.

Each area DNR office has dedicated time during the weeks of March 18 and March 25 for these conversations. Specific time and location details are available on the deer plan webpage at mndnr.gov/deerplan. Meetings in the area are at Brainerd, Fergus Falls, Park Rapids and Waubun.

In addition to discussing general concerns about deer, individuals can ask DNR staff about last year's harvest data, share observations, discuss potential season changes and get a preview of the updated draft Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan that will be formally released in April. Season changes include a proposed statewide youth deer hunting season.

The meetings do not include formal presentations; people can arrive any time during the scheduled meeting times.

"Our deer management plan emphasizes the importance of providing input opportunities for the public," said Barbara Keller, the DNR's big game program leader. "These conversations are key to providing additional insight to the issues that are important to everyone with an interest in deer."

The DNR will provide further online feedback opportunities for the public, with surveys that will cover chronic wasting disease management alternatives, perception of local deer populations, and potential hunting season changes for deer and other species. The survey addressing CWD will be available online at mndnr.gov/deerplan in late March. Online feedback opportunities concerning deer perceptions and season changes will be available in early April.

The DNR encourages people who can't attend a scheduled meeting, but who have questions about deer management, to contact a local wildlife manager. A list of area wildlife offices is available online at mndnr.gov/areas/wildlife.

More about the Minnesota deer management plan

The DNR released the Minnesota White-Tailed Deer Management Plan in July 2018, setting new goals and priorities, increasing formal opportunities for citizens to influence deer decisions, and aiming for a disease-free deer population. The plan was a result of two years of planning that involved statewide meetings and hundreds of in-depth conversations with citizens and interest groups. The full plan is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/deerplan.

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