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Firearms deer hunting opener is Nov. 5

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Minnesota 2011 deer hunting licenses are now available as is the online version of the state's hunting regulation booklet.

Booklets will be available in mid-August.

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This year's archery season opens Saturday, Sept. 17. The general firearms season opens Saturday, Nov. 5. The deadline for lottery permit applications is Thursday, Sept. 8.

Significant changes for 2011 include:

E A new CWD management area, called Deer Area 602, has been established in southeastern Minnesota surrounding the area where a CWD positive deer was detected last fall. The new CWD management area will feature a 23-day firearm season.

E A new "hunter choice" deer management designation has been established that will allow hunters in certain areas to take one either-sex deer per year in one of these areas. These areas function like lottery areas, with the difference being hunters do not need to make a lottery application or possess an either sex permit to take an antlerless deer. In hunter choice areas, the license is automatically valid for an either-sex deer.

E Bonus permits are not allowed. If a deer is taken in one hunter choice area, a hunter cannot take another deer in another hunter choice or lottery deer area. The designation was created because the majority of deer permit areas are within their established goal ranges, and DNR managers believe one either-sex deer without a lottery would allow those areas to stay within goal without going back and forth between lottery and managed areas.

The DNR still uses the lottery in areas where antlerless deer harvest is restricted and managed and intensive harvest designations when additional antlerless deer harvest is needed. This year, 27 percent are managed and 17 percent are intensive areas.

Minnesota 2011 deer hunting licenses are now available as is the online version of the state's hunting regulation booklet.

Booklets will be available in mid-August.

This year's archery season opens Saturday, Sept. 17. The general firearms season opens Saturday, Nov. 5. The deadline for lottery permit applications is Thursday, Sept. 8.

Significant changes for 2011 include:

- A new CWD management area, called Deer Area 602, has been established in southeastern Minnesota surrounding the area where a CWD positive deer was detected last fall. The new CWD management area will feature a 23-day firearm season.

- A new "hunter choice" deer management designation has been established that will allow hunters in certain areas to take one either-sex deer per year in one of these areas. These areas function like lottery areas, with the difference being hunters do not need to make a lottery application or possess an either sex permit to take an antlerless deer. In hunter choice areas, the license is automatically valid for an either-sex deer.

- Bonus permits are not allowed. If a deer is taken in one hunter choice area, a hunter cannot take another deer in another hunter choice or lottery deer area. The designation was created because the majority of deer permit areas are within their established goal ranges, and DNR managers believe one either-sex deer without a lottery would allow those areas to stay within goal without going back and forth between lottery and managed areas.

The DNR still uses the lottery in areas where antlerless deer harvest is restricted and managed and intensive harvest designations when additional antlerless deer harvest is needed. This year, 27 percent are managed and 17 percent are intensive areas.

Hunters may once again apply for either-sex or special hunt permits in both the firearm and muzzleloader seasons. In a change from previous years, hunters successful in the lottery can use their permit in either the firearm or muzzleloader season, provided they have a valid license for that season. The deadline for lottery and special hunt applications is Thursday, Sept. 8.

This year's lottery deer areas are: 103, 108, 119, 234, 235, 237, 238, 250, 251, 252, 253, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 294, 295, 296 and 299.

Because deer herds are largely within goals, there will be no early antlerless deer season this year, and no youth-only antlerless areas available this year. The DNR will continue to monitor harvest and population size, and may use these designations in the future. Also, the 16-foot height restriction for permanent deer stands has been eliminated.

Cornicelli urged hunters to familiarize themselves with 2011 regulations before the hunting season begins. Due to delays created by the state shutdown, the hunting regulations booklet will not be available until mid-August wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, but hunters may access an online version of the regulations at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.

Deer hunters are also encouraged to review new deer hunting regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes before the Thursday, Sept. 8 application deadline for either-sex deer permits in lottery areas, and for all special hunts.

Additional information about the 2011 deer season can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

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