Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Thirty-five Minnesota state parks will be open for special permit archery, firearm, or muzzleloader deer hunts in November and December, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). And those who did not apply for a special permit or were not successful in the permit drawing may be able to purchase surplus permits for seven of the parks involved in special hunts. Surplus hunting permits are available by calling the park manager at the following Minnesota state parks: Gooseberry, Split Rock Lighthouse, Tettegouche, Scenic, Lake Bronson, Great River Bluffs, and Interstate. Contact information for these parks is listed below. The other 28 state parks that are offering special hunts are already fully subscribed, so permits are not available at those locations. All hunters must have a firearms or muzzleloader license to obtain a permit. If they were successful in the drawing, they cannot obtain one of the surplus permits. Hunters who wish to camp at the park hosting a special hunt will not need reservations. After Nov. 1, all camping at Minnesota state parks is on a first-come, first-served basis. The DNR Division of Parks and Recreation annually holds a number of special hunts in order to manage the deer population. While this effort has been relatively successful overall, sometimes deer populations have still expanded beyond acceptable levels due to mild winters or undersubscribed hunts. "Deer are part of the natural communities that we seek to preserve or restore in the Minnesota State Park system," said Ed Quinn, resource management coordinator for Minnesota state parks. "When deer populations in an area become too high, however, they can have significant negative impacts on native plant and animal communities." Heavy deer browsing on seedling trees during the winter can nearly eliminate regeneration of some tree species, such as pine. In addition, deer can also greatly reduce the numbers and variety of wildflowers and other herbaceous plants that grow on the forest floor. "Techniques such as bud capping and exclosures are also used to control the amount of deer browsing," Quinn said. "Our overall goal is to manage the deer population in the parks so that their numbers are at a level that does not negatively affect the other natural resources. In some cases, that is best accomplished through special hunts."
Every effort will be made to accommodate disabled hunters who have already received a special permit or are interested in obtaining a surplus special permit. Two Minnesota state parks - Frontenac and Wild River - already have specific arrangements in place.
Minnesota State Parks with surplus park permits: Gooseberry Falls, (218) 834-385, regular firearms, Nov. 8-23; Great River Bluffs, (507) 643-6849, regular firearms, Nov. 22-24, Nov. 28-30; Interstate, (651) 465-5711, muzzleloader, Nov. 29-Dec. 14; Lake Bronson, (218) 754-2200, regular firearms, Nov. 8-16; Scenic, (218) 743-3362, regular firearms, Nov. 8-23; Split Rock Lighthouse, (218) 226-6377, regular firearms, Nov. 8-23; Tettegouche, (218) 226-6377, regular firearms, Nov. 8-23. For more information on special hunts, visit www.mnstateparks.info.