Minnesota DNR seeking public input on deer population goals

Beginning Monday, Jan. 24, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking for public input on deer population goals in 28 of 130 deer permit areas (DPAs).

“We’re continuing with an online questionnaire this year and adding webinars for those who wish to connect directly with area wildlife managers on this topic,” said Barbara Keller, DNR big game program leader. “We’re excited to have people participate and encourage anyone who has an interest in deer management to give feedback on deer population trends in the areas where they live, work and recreate.”

The DNR establishes deer population goals — how much of an increase or decrease is desired in a deer population in a particular DPA — as part of managing the state’s wild deer.

Population goals established in this process will provide direction for management in each goal-setting block for a 10-year period, with a midpoint review at the five-year mark. Goal blocks and the DPAs that comprise them are established based on similar habitat, land uses, deer populations and deer hunter distribution.

The targeted DPAs this year are:

DPAs 117, 118, 126, 130, 131, 133 in the Superior Uplands – Arrowhead block;
DPAs 169, 184, 197, 210, 298 in the North Central Plains Moraines block;
DPAs 241, 246, 251, 258, 259, 287 in the Pine Moraines block; and
DPAs 341, 342, 343, 344, 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649, 655 in the Blufflands Plateau block.
Online feedback opens on Jan. 24 and concludes on Sunday, Feb. 13. Participants will be asked to complete on online questionnaire and indicate whether the deer population in a particular area should increase, decrease, or stay the same—and provide their rationale.

Webinars during the last week of January will present information about each goal-setting block, seek participant input and allow DNR wildlife staff to answer participants’ questions. Webinars will be recorded and posted online for those who can’t participate in the live events.

“We strongly encourage people to join us for these webinars,” Keller said. “Anyone may participate, regardless of affiliation or knowledge of the process, and we’ll present useful information and answer questions that will help participants formulate their online responses.”

Details about each goal block, how to participate in the process, the webinar schedule and how to access the questionnaire are listed on the DNR’s website (mndnr.gov/mammals/deer/management/population.html).

In 2019, the DNR updated its deer population goal-setting process, which previously obtained input through citizen advisory committees and in-person public meetings. The new format allows more participants and encourages varied perspectives.

The DNR is committed to socially and ecologically responsive and responsible deer management for the benefit of all Minnesotans now and in the future. Visit our deer management page (mndnr.gov/deer) to learn about the many things we do to manage one of Minnesota’s most popular animals.