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Hunting, trapping seasons announced

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced there will be more opportunity to harvest deer, additional upland bird hunting and expansions in youth hunts in the 2005 Minnesota hunting seasons.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced there will be more opportunity to harvest deer, additional upland bird hunting and expansions in youth hunts in the 2005 Minnesota hunting seasons.

"Hunting and trapping is enormously important to many Minnesotans and to the state's economy," said DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam. "The DNR is committed to conserving and managing natural resources to provide those opportunities in a sustainable manner. In addition we're working to keep youth active and involved in the outdoors."

Several youth deer hunts that pair young hunters with mentors in controlled areas will be held again this fall. Youth opportunities for small game include "Take-a-Kid" hunting weekend Sept. 24-25, "Youth Waterfowl Day," tentatively Sept. 17 and "Future Pheasant Hunters" weekend Oct. 29-30.

Hunters will have more opportunity than ever before to harvest deer, thanks to regulation changes that include the opportunity to tag deer with both a firearm and archery license, an early antlerless season, zone realignments and the creation of a metro deer-hunting zone.

"We hope to increase deer harvest in areas with high deer populations," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator. "To do this, we're offering hunters more flexibility with deer licenses and more hunting opportunities."


The changes begin to take effect with the Sept. 17 opening of archery deer hunting. Firearms deer hunting begins statewide on Nov. 5 and the muzzleloader season starts Nov. 26.

In addition, there will be additional pheasant, grouse and Hungarian partridge hunting opportunities this year as the season has been extended one additional day, through Jan. 1

This will also be the second hunting season for mourning dove, the most widely dispersed and abundant upland game bird in North America. Because Minnesota's dove hunt is regulated under federal guidelines that also govern southern states, the season will stay open for 60 days.

However, doves tend to leave Minnesota when temperatures begin to drop near freezing, usually around the middle of September.

Minnesota's breeding waterfowl populations were down 37 percent while pond numbers were up 22 percent in the May annual breeding duck survey. Duck numbers are very close to the state's long-term average since surveys began in 1968.

However, a look at the last 10 years shows that duck abundance is down 24 percent from the 10-year average, with duck numbers at the lowest since the drought of the late 1980s.

Continental duck counts are down 1 percent, according to preliminary estimates. Fall hunting success in Minnesota will depend on water conditions to the west and north of the state and on weather during the season.

Giant Canada geese that breed locally in Minnesota remain abundant and, along with migrant geese, provide Minnesota waterfowl hunters with excellent goose hunting opportunities. More Canada geese are taken in Minnesota than in any other state in the United States.


Liberal September goose hunting regulations will continue in many areas of the state in order to harvest as many local geese as possible before the migrant population begins arriving.

More details will be announced prior to the Oct. 1 regular waterfowl season opener.

Moose populations in northwestern Minnesota are still very low and the season is still closed in that area. However, the northeast Minnesota moose population remains stable and 284 moose licenses were offered this year, up from 246 licenses in 2004, when state licensed hunters killed 127 bulls and 24 cows, for a party success rate of 62 percent.

The DNR has also added some new regulations that will affect hunters in Minnesota this fall. Details about hunting seasons and regulations are available in the 2005 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook, available online at www.dnr.state.mn.us and where hunting licenses are sold.

Johnson, who works with the Minnesota Office of Tourism in St. Paul, can be reached at (651) 297-3488 or via e-mail at curt.johnson@state.mn.us

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