MN DNR: Deer Hunting License Sales Down About 3%
With the state’s firearm deer hunting season opening this Saturday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says sales of deer hunting licenses are down about three percent.
The decline is a part of a national trend, with hunters in the baby-boomer generation aging out of the sport.
Meanwhile, the DNR expects more than 400,000 Minnesotan hunters to search for whitetails over the next three weeks.
The annual hunt is “a huge economic boost to the state,” said Todd Froberg, big game coordinator for the DNR. “So it’s a half a billion dollars, so $500 million dollars to the state economy.”
Statewide, the deer population is “pretty stable or pretty strong,” Froberg said.
Froberg said the DNR expects to see an average or above average harvest for the southern and central portions of the state this year, considering the strength of the herd.
“Lots of opportunity in those areas,” he said. “It should be pretty consistent with last year and maybe even increased in the central part of the state. There’s plenty of opportunity.”
Meanwhile, deer populations are more sparse in the northeastern portion of the state, where long and snow-heavy winters took a toll on the herd.
“We’ll be looking for the southern portion of the state to make up for harvests where it probably will lack in the northern part of the state,” Froberg said.
Likewise, seasonable cool weather is in the forecast for much of the state. AS a result, hunters are more likely to stay in the field searching for deer in cooler, calm conditions, Froberg said.
“We as hunters like the weather a little bit cooler,” he said. “It seems that whenever there’s a cold front, it just gets in our mind that the deer are moving. I think it more tends to be the case that actually people are just out [hunting] … it feels like good deer hunting weather.”
The state’s deer hunt is a primary method to control the deer population, according to Froberg.
In the metro, those deer populations have an impact on the region’s drivers.
“The more deer we kill via hunter harvest, the less [we kill in car collisions] especially in the metro area,” Froberg said. “In some of the metro areas, there are more deer killed via car collisions than there are by hunters.”