The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has shared its findings on the deer population and reports from regions across the state. Some areas are expected to have higher populations and a better harvest. Other regions are recovering from a moderate to severe winter and may see fewer deer. Permits and limits are created from the data they gather to help manage the deer population. Here's what the DNR expects for the estimated 400,000 Minnesota Hunters this season.

Bow hunting is already underway across the state, and the firearm opener is just a few weeks away on November 5. You may have better luck depending on which part of the state you are hunting.

Southern Minnesota Deer Report

<> on October 3, 2013 in Worthington, Minnesota.
Scott Olson

The weather for deer last year was favorable for the Southern Minnesota region. The DNR says the habitat is in good shape. Regions that suffered from flooding years ago have had time to recover. They suggest the best areas would be river floodplains because they offer excellent deer cover and will be where they hide.

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Lower water levels in wetland basins will allow better hunter access. The deer population is strong throughout the south meaning more liberal harvest strategies are being used.

For farming areas in this region, a harvested crop will help with the firearm season.

Central Minnesota Deer Report


Central Minnesota region has experienced dryer weather, which will allow more hunter access to swamps and low areas. The deer population is above the goal for much of the region. Some zones are allowing hunters to harvest three deer each. Because of the dryer conditions, the DNR is reminding hunters to be careful with campfires.

Northeast Minnesota

Hog deer feces.

The deer population is down under goal for most of the Northeast Minnesota region. As most hunters know, there are fewer antlerless permits this year and many zones are bucks only. The best conditions are in the southern area of Northeast Minnesota. The further north you go, the crappier your chances are.

The last winter was severe in the region with heavy snow and cold temperatures, which hurt the deer population. The DNR says the best ways to determine how the deer population in a specific area is the amount of forest cover, food availability, hunter pressure, and predatory pressure.

Northwest Minnesota


Despite having a severe winter, the deer population in Northwest Minnesota seems to have held up. Rainfall this last summer has helped areas that have been suffering from drought. There's been plenty of forage availability and good acorn growth in the region which benefits the deer population. Some zones are allowing two to three deer limits, while others may be bucks only because of the severe winter index in those zones.

The DNR Wants You To Have A Plan For Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Chronic Wasting Disease has now been found in eight specific areas across the state. The DNR has specific testing requirements for areas, and you should have a plan in place to make sure you can do your part.

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