If you want some deer data to kick around at deer camp this fall, check out these facts from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about the state’s firearms deer hunt.
• There are nearly 500,000 firearms deer hunters in Minnesota.
• Last year, 32 percent of Minnesota firearm hunters took a deer. About 20 percent of hunters shot antlered bucks.
• The average hunter spends five days afield during Minnesota’s firearms deer season.
• Seventy percent of Minnesota’s firearms deer harvest typically occurs during the first three or four days of the season.
• The highest deer harvests occurred during the early to mid-1990s and from 2000 to 2008. From 2000 to 2008 the harvest topped 200,000 deer each year. The high harvests in the early 2000s occurred at a time when the overriding philosophy was to reduce the deer population so it wouldn’t grow out of control and to address certain environmental, economic and social concerns. Harvests in the 1970s never topped 100,000, while harvests in the 1980s were under 150,000. In 2016, the harvest was just over 173,000.
• In total, about 604,000 deer hunting licenses and permits (all types) were sold in 2016.
• The three primary types of deer hunting seasons are firearms, muzzleloader and archery. Firearms season opens on Nov. 4 and muzzleloader on Nov. 25. Archery season opened on Sept. 16.
Hunting economics (from a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report):
• Deer are the No. 1 hunted species in Minnesota. Deer hunters along with other hunters and wildlife watchers together contribute more than $1.3 billion each year to the economy.
• Hunting-related expenditures in Minnesota totaled $725 million.
• Trip-related expenses such as food, lodging and transportation were $235 million.
• Hunters spent $400 million on equipment.
• Hunters spent $90 million on other items such as magazines, membership dues, licenses, permits, land leasing and ownership.
Rifle sight-in available
The United Northern Sportsmen’s Club on Island Lake north of Duluth is holding its annual fall rifle sight-in opportunity now. The club’s range is open for sight-in today; Oct. 28-31 and Nov. 1-3. Cost is $5 per gun. Hours are 8 a.m. to one-half hour before sunset. For information, call (218) 721-4843. The club’s range is at 7229 Rice Lake Road.
Rule change on portable tree stands in WMAs
A new regulation allows hunters in Minnesota Wildlife Management areas in the northwestern corner of the state to leave up to two portable stands overnight. The new rule applies in an area roughly north of Thief River Falls and west of Warroad.
In WMAs in the remainder of the state, stands cannot be left overnight, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials remind hunters.
“Every year we have people leaving stands overnight on WMAs, so it’s a common violation,” said Greg Salo, assistant director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “We have this regulation in place to prevent some users from preempting others from the opportunity to use WMAs on a first-come, first-served basis.”
Portable stands may be used on WMAs if they are removed each day at the close of shooting hours and do no permanent damage. Spikes or nails driven into trees are not allowed, but screwing or clamping devices are allowed if removed each day at the close of shooting hours.