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Warmer temps may slow deer harvest, DNR says

Permit Area 604, covering the majority of Crow Wing County, remains a CWD management zone

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Photo illustration from Metro Newspaper Service
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BRAINERD — The firearm deer hunting season is set to begin as the sun rises Saturday, Nov. 5. Though deer have not been hard to find in the lakes area, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources worries deer may lie low opening weekend.

“I have seen a lot of deer around,” DNR Brainerd Area Wildlife Supervisor Christine Reisz said. “I think a lot of (the harvest) will have to do with weather. It looks like it’s going to be a fairly nice weekend, and maybe a little warmer than folks would like – deer might not be moving much. Some hunters may have to change tactics and maybe do some more drives instead of just sitting and waiting for one.”

In Permit Area 604 – covering the majority of Crow Wing County, with its northern border being County Road 1 along Pine River, Fifty Lakes and Emily – the area is still considered a disease management zone, as deer infected with chronic wasting disease have been found there.

Three deer can be claimed per hunter, one of which can be antlered. This is decreased from five deer in 2021.

“We did, unfortunately, find one more deer with CWD last year in Permit Area 604,” Reisz said. “That means that we will be testing again this year. It is mandatory testing this opening weekend of firearm season, but that is the only time it is mandatory.”

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Four staffed CWD testing stations are in the area: at the DNR office in Brainerd, the eastern Gull Lake public water access in Nisswa, the Crosby station in the Cuyuna Recreational Area and the Emily Fire Station.

Self-service stations are located in Pine River and Aitkin.

“For those who live outside (but hunt inside) Permit Area 604, there are carcass movement restrictions,” Reisz said. “That means they can’t bring the whole carcass out of the area until its CWD test comes back negative. If (hunters) want, they can quarter it up there and put the backbone and other parts in supplied dumpsters, and then they can leave with those quarters – they just can’t leave with the head or the spinal cord.”

In Permit Area 172 – covering the area north and east of Pine River, including Hackensack – Reisz said deer populations are “a little bit lower than folks would like.”

That area is once again a lottery zone, meaning hunters interested in claiming an antlerless deer had to apply for and be drawn for a tag in a lottery.

The DNR estimates that roughly 400,000 Minnesota hunters are prepared to venture into the woods on Saturday morning.

“I would just remind folks to wear plenty of blaze orange,” Reisz said. “Be careful and know where you are shooting. We don’t want any hunting accidents.”

Fall back

Hunters are reminded to turn their clocks back one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, when daylight saving time ends.

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Weather forecast

  • Saturday, Nov. 5: A slight chance of rain and snow showers before 1 p.m., then a slight chance of rain showers. Mostly sunny with a high near 50. South wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
  • Saturday night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy with a low around 35. South wind around 5 mph, with gusts as high as 15 mph.
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy with a high near 45. West wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Source: National Weather Service in Duluth
Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com . Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan .

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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