Low-flying helicopters will be used for white-tailed deer population surveys planned by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for January through March in central and southeastern Minnesota, if suitable snow conditions develop.

“We use aerial surveys to help monitor deer populations in portions of Minnesota,” said Gino D’Angelo, DNR farmland deer project leader. “These flights provide data to improve our understanding of how deer populations respond to management, which helps us to make decisions about future deer hunting season regulations.”

Deer will be counted during daylight hours at an altitude of about 200 feet. These counts are used to estimate deer numbers in deer permit areas. A representative sampling of 1 square mile areas within the permit areas are flown that allows for a statistically valid representation of the population in a given area.

“The goal is to complete deer permit areas 214, 215, 218, 219, 221, 223, 224, 229, 241, and 248 in Becker, Benton, Cass, Hubbard, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Wilkin, and Wright counties; and deer permit areas 341, 343, 345, 347, and 348 in Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha, and Winona counties,” D’Angelo said. “Successful completion of the surveys requires continuous snow conditions over the survey areas in order to complete them all.”

Aerial elk surveys are also planned for the Kittson County and Grygla elk ranges in northwestern Minnesota.

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