Deer should be active for opening hunting weekend

Published 7:08 am Friday, November 2, 2012

With almost no corn left in area fields, hunters could see plenty of action from deer during opening weekend.

The firearm deer hunting season A opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 11 for local hunting zones. Jeanine Vorland, a Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager based in Owatonna, said she has been seeing a lot of movement already.

“I’m actually expecting a pretty good harvest,” Vorland said. “With the crop harvest advanced the way it is, I’m seeing a lot of deer, and I expect hunters will have a reasonably easy time finding them.”

Email newsletter signup

An antler point restriction remains for all areas in the 300 zone, which includes much of southeastern Minnesota. That means hunters who take a buck must make sure it has at least four points on one side.

Once again, area 602 — which lies within U.S. Highways 63 and 14 and State Highways 60 and 57 — will be a Chronic Wasting Disease testing zone, where harvested deer will be tested for the degenerative CWD protein that causes strange behavior and eventually kills deer. In 2010, a deer tested positive for the disease and was the first confirmed case in Minnesota. However, no positive cases have since been confirmed in the state.

Vorland said many of the 2012 regulations are the same as last year, but not all of them.

Complete regulations can be found on the DNR’s website at

Pheasant hunters seeing a slight upswing in numbers

After two atrocious pheasant hunting seasons in Minnesota, the upland birds are making somewhat of a comeback.

“The comment is in general, people are doing better than last year,” Vorland said about hunter success.

Two harsh winters and wet springs — 2009 and 2010 — depleted the pheasant population in Minnesota. However, unusual warmth and dryness in winter 2011 allowed for a good hatch. According to the DNR, pheasant population was estimated to be up 66 percent this year. Still, the population isn’t back in full force.

“But we are still in the recovery phase from those back-to-back winters and wet springs,” Vorland said.