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Deer plan fosters understanding of management, more citizen input - Comments accepted through May 9

Duluth News Tribune file photo.

Minnesota's new deer plan sets a new statewide harvest target, increases citizen participation in deer management, and outlines ways to keep the population and habitat healthy.

The Department of Natural Resources is taking online public comments on the new plan now through Wednesday, May 9. Also, the DNR will hold 35 public meetings in April around the state so people can talk to wildlife managers, ask questions and provide input.

There will be a meeting at the Aitkin Area DNR Office on Tuesday, April 17, as well as at the Brainerd DNR Office on Wednesday, April 18. Both meetings are scheduled from 6-8 p.m.

Part of the plan outlines strategic ways the DNR will prioritize its resources and activities to meet the plan's eight key goals, which range from keeping Minnesota deer healthy to ensuring biological and societal factors are considered in management decisions.

The plan establishes an annual statewide harvest target of 200,000 deer. Although only one of several performance measures outlined in the plan, the harvest target will help communicate how the DNR is meeting overall population goals through time.

In general, annual harvests less than 200,000 will indicate a need for more conservative regulations to rebuild deer populations. Harvests greater than 200,000 will suggest hunting regulations need to be liberalized so more deer are harvested to reduce populations.

The plan does not address the details of specific regulations or operational issues, but rather plots a long-term strategic direction for managing the herd.

For more than a year, a 19-member citizens' advisory group helped the DNR draft the deer plan. The group's members had knowledge of deer management, interests related to deer and familiarity with different areas of the state.

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