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Don't let either-sex deer permit deadline sneak up on you

Minnesota hunters who hope to harvest an antlerless deer this fall will want to review 2009 regulations prior to Sept. 10, the deadline to apply for an either-sex permit. That's because over-the-counter, either-sex permits will be valid in significantly fewer areas this hunting season, especially in portions of northern and southwestern Minnesota. Therefore, hunters who typically did not need to apply for an either-sex permit will need to do so for this hunting season.

Nearly half of Minnesota's 127 deer permit areas are designated as "lottery" this year, according to Lou Cornicelli, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) big game program coordinator. "We encourage all deer hunters, no matter if they hunt with a firearm or muzzleloader, to determine the status of their hunting area now so that it doesn't come as a surprise to them after the Sept. 10 permit application deadline."

Archery hunters may harvest an antlerless deer in lottery areas without applying for an either-sex permit.

The DNR has reduced the number of deer permit areas where over-the-counter, either-sex permits are valid. In some parts of Minnesota, the deer population is now within management goals as a result of several years of abundant harvest coupled with a moderate to severe winter in northern Minnesota. In other areas, where the deer population is below population goals, the restriction is an effort to increase deer numbers.

Hunters who are selected to receive an either-sex permit in a lottery area can harvest a buck or antlerless deer. Those who are not selected can harvest a buck only.

Dennis Simon, DNR wildlife section chief, said hunters younger than 18 who want to harvest an antlerless deer in a significant portion of southwestern Minnesota must apply for an either-sex permit by Thursday, Sept. 10. Only youth hunters selected by lottery will be allowed to harvest an antlerless deer in these areas.

"We made commitments through our goal-setting process to increase southwestern deer populations," said Simon. "To accomplish this, we need to restrict antlerless deer harvest."

Permit areas affected by the change are 234, 237, 274, 275, 282, 283, 284, 286, 288, 289, 294. (Click here to see map of deer permit areas).

"We've been lowering lottery permits in these areas for several years, but that hasn't increased local deer populations," said Simon. "The next logical step is to allow only hunters younger than 18 who participate in a lottery for either-sex permits to harvest antlerless deer."

The other significant change is that muzzleloader hunters must apply for an either-sex permit if they want to harvest an antlerless deer in a lottery area. Unlike previous years, there is no exemption for a person who only hunts the muzzleloader season.

Hunters who choose to hunt in a lottery area and want the option of taking an antlerless deer must decide by Sept. 10 if they will hunt with a regular firearm or muzzleloader, stipulating that choice on the lottery application. If selected in the lottery, the permit will be valid only for the season the hunter specified on the application. Hunters who are not selected only may harvest a buck in lottery areas during the regular firearms and muzzleloader seasons.

Detailed information about deer season licenses and permit requirements is in the 2009 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations and on the DNR Web site, .