FROM THE DNR: DEER NOTES

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Deer Notes – Feb. 19, 2014

Revisiting deer population goals

Recognizing our mission to work with citizens to conserve and manage the state’s natural resources, deer management decisions must consider various and often competing values and objectives. The public process used by DNR to establish deer population goals provides the opportunity for all interests to be considered.

We have announced plans to revisit population goals throughout the state over the next couple years. The process has been revised based on our past experience as well as a recent evaluation of the Fish and Wildlife Division’s public engagement tools through discussions with a number of stakeholder focus groups. For example, public input on deer populations will be collected in advance of advisory team meetings to inform the discussion. This will occur through public meetings and an online questionnaire as well as through random surveys distributed to stakeholders.

The process of revisiting deer goals has been initiated this winter in southeastern Minnesota (permit areas 341-349), an area where goals were last established in 2005. In addition to having some of the oldest goals in the state, there has been considerable interest from diverse groups in revisiting the population goals in the area. Recent hunter and landowner survey responses to questions about current deer populations and future management provide valuable information for the goal-setting process. Once tested in southeastern Minnesota, DNR will use the revised process to collect information on citizen preferences and revisit population goals throughout the state.

We anticipate announcing the goal setting plans for the remainder of the state in coming weeks. Check the DNR’s deer management page at mndnr.gov/deer for updates and watch for details in Deer Notes. DNR will start collecting information on public preferences via mail surveys this year. In addition to this formal process, you can contact DNR at any time to share your perspectives on deer management.

Minnesota’s deer management framework uses the public process to establish goals that guide our management over multiple years. Season management decisions are made on an annual basis using population and harvest data as well as information from the field.

web banner 366 x 280fishousePublic input opportunity: southeastern Minnesota deer population goals

DNR seeks your input on deer population goals in deer permit 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, and 349. With a goal to better consider stakeholder perspectives during goal setting discussions, DNR will be collecting public input through an online questionnaire and public meetings prior to convening the advisory team.

Comments from members of the public, in addition to recent hunter and landowner surveys, will be shared with advisory team members, who were selected from an open call to the public for nominations.

To review information and provide comment on deer populations and management in southeastern Minnesota online,visit the deer management webpage.

To provide comments in person, attend one of the following meetings:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 6:30 – 8:30 pm – Lake City Lincoln High School, 300 South Garden St, Lake City
  • Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, 6:30 – 8:30 pm – St. Charles Elementary School Auditorium, 925 Church Ave., St. Charles

To provide comments via U.S. mail, address letters to: Department of Natural Resources, Attn: SE Deer Goal Setting, Minnesota 500 Lafayette Road, Saint Paul, MN 55155. Email comments will be accepted at the following address:deergoals.dnr@state.mn.us.

2014 southeast deer goal setting advisory team members announced

Advisory team members selected to help the DNR Wildlife Section identify deer population goals for southeastern Minnesota have been finalized. Team members will attend public meetings on Feb.19 and Feb. 25 to hear public perspectives about current and desired deer populations.

Team members were selected from an open call for nominations to represent both the diversity of interests in deer management and for their collective familiarity with individual deer permit areas to be discussed. More than 90 individuals applied to participate on the teams. Specific emphasis was placed on identifying individuals with a personal connection to deer management in the southeast.

Team members include Mark Bauman, Rochester; Cynthie Christensen, Rushford; Ken Fetterly, Spring Valley; Larry Gates, Kellogg; Collin Johnson, St. Charles; Chris Kolbert, St. Charles; Kyle Kolbet, Rochester; Vong Lee, Roseville; Quintin Lohse, Chatfield; Melinda Miller, Stewartville; Anne Morse, Dakota; Mark Popovich, Welch; Ron Rosenthal, Red Wing; Tom Ryan, Byron; Jim Siewert, Lake City; Michael Simons, Cottage Grove; Terry Spaeth, Rochester; Len Strapp, Rushford; Marty Stubstad, Rochester; Mark Timm, Altura; and Jim Vogen, Chatfield.

The team includes archery, firearm and muzzleloader hunters as well as non-hunters; residents and landowners; farmers; orchard owners and operators; land managers; local government staff and volunteers; local business owners; and members of hunting, conservation and agricultural organizations. Brief team member biographies soon will be available on the deer management webpage at mndnr.gov\deer.

Emergency deer feeding

A portion of the funds collected for emergency deer feeding and wild cervid health management will be available this year for emergency deer feeding in portions of northern Minnesota.

While DNR does not support deer feeding because science shows it does not have a significant positive effect on the overall deer population and increases the risk of disease transmission, the department is acting in good faith with the existing purposes of a special account funded by license dollars. The Legislature established a deer feeding account in 1997, diverting 50 cents from each deer hunting license. In 2003, the Legislature allowed the DNR to use those funds to combat deer diseases. The money has funded bovine tuberculosis responses in northwestern Minnesota and chronic wasting disease responses in southeastern Minnesota.

DNR is developing a deer feeding protocol, in collaboration with Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, to direct the use of those funds. More information will be available soon.

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Wildlife health program news: CWD not detected in southeast Minnesota

After three years of extensive Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance, no additional positive deer have been found in southeastern Minnesota.

Extensive testing for the disease began after it was found in a wild deer near Pine Island in January 2010. At the time, DNR defined a new deer permit area and established mandatory surveillance with the expectation it would be continued for three years if no positives were detected. The 979 deer that were tested during the 2013 hunting season brings an end to disease surveillance in this area. In total, 6,268 deer have been tested in southeastern Minnesota since the disease was discovered in a domestic elk near Pine Island.

Permit area 602 will be dissolved and remaining permit areas will revert back to pre-CWD boundaries. Management strategies for the upcoming season in the pre-CWD permit areas (341 and 343) will be determined once population goals for the areas are revisited this winter.

DNR wildlife health program staff will continue to monitor deer that are reported to have CWD symptoms.

Need info? Think local

If you have a question about deer or other wildlife, your first point of contact is likely a conservation officer or area wildlife manager. These staff members are often the best source of local information. Area wildlife managers plan and administer wildlife programs and activities within a geographic area. To find your local area wildlife manager visit the office locator page on the DNR website or call the DNR information center at 651-296-6157. You also can find a local conservation officer on the DNR website.

Coming soon in Deer Notes

  • Information from the 2013 deer harvest report; the deer season closed Dec.31, 2013
  • Updates on deer goals
  • What is the Winter Severity Index and what is it reflecting this year?
  • An update on emergency deer feeding

Have a suggestion for a Deer Notes topic? Send it toleslie.mcinenly@state.mn.us.

 

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