MDHA deer feeding update

I’m just catching up after being out of the office a couple of days enjoying a welcome break in the weather, so I thought I’d share this “Bullet Blast” that was in my email inbox from the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association about the deer feeding effort that’s set to begin in the northeast part of the state. Keep in mind there are no plans to feed deer in northwest Minnesota.

Here’s the update as it appeared in the MDHA email:

Deer Feeding News
Monday, February 17, 2014

MDHA is receiving a lot of calls and emails from volunteers wanting to do their part to roll out the feeding program. We appreciate all of you! This is going to be a huge effort that will require many volunteers. If you are interested, please contact Jenny at the State Office (jenny@mndeerhunters.com) to give her your contact info. We are especially looking for people with snowmobiles, as this will be the main mode of transportation into the feeding areas (unless you’re willing to snowshoe in and pull a sled! In which case, I’d like to personally shake your hand!)

We’d also like to hear from those who were part of the feeding effort back in the 90’s to give us any of your thoughts or insights into ways to make things run smoothly.

We will be looking to our local MDHA Chapters for volunteer leaders, and would like to see a contingent from each of the following Chapters: Trail’s End, Sturgeon River, Hibbing/Chisholm, Itasca County, Lakes and Pines, Woodland, McGregor Area, Quad Rivers, Carlton County, and Lake Superior. Please contact me at the State Office with your names and numbers as soon as possible!

If you have a specific feeding area in mind, and it’s on public land, send us the GPS coordinates, or township/range info, if possible, so we can add it to our map. We will try to have all feeding areas mapped out ahead of actually getting in the field. Here are the 11 zones we will be working in: 108, 119, 156, 169, 173, 177, 178, 179, 181, 183, and 197. Area 199 is a possible add-in, but the decision is pending a meeting of the Fond du Lac Tribal Council to have a chance to review. Check your maps to be sure the areas you are sending us coordinates on are within these hunting zones, and remember, they have to be on public land!

**Area 199 pending decision by Fond du Lac Tribal Council

Northwest Minnesota wolf harvest well below quota

With two days left in the early wolf season, hunters in northwest Minnesota had killed 52 wolves as of Friday afternoon, shy of the 73-wolf target quota.

The Northeast Wolf Zone closed when the harvest reach 31, a mere two wolves short of the 33-wolf quota.

The late season, which also allows trapping, opens Nov. 30 and continues through Jan. 31 or when the season’s targets of 145 in the northwest and 65 in the northeast are reached.

The DNR offered 3,300 wolf licenses this year, down from 6,000 last year, and the statewide harvest quota is 220, down from 400 last year.

DNR reports 6 percent drop in deer harvest

The preliminary numbers are in, and Minnesota hunters have killed 6 percent fewer deer through the second weekend of this year’s firearms deer season than during the same time last year, the Department of Natural Resources reported Wednesday.

According to the DNR, Minnesota hunters shot 128,814 deer through the second weekend of the season. Overall, hunters had killed 7 percent fewer antlered bucks and 5 percent fewer antlerless deer.

The state’s firearms deer season ended Sunday for all but northeast Minnesota, where the season ends this coming Sunday. A late firearm season in southeast Minnesota begins Saturday and concludes Dec. 1.

“Based on our population estimates, the decrease in buck harvest was not anticipated and may reflect hunting conditions more than population,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “Based on the preliminary numbers, our opening and second weekend harvests from Saturday to Monday were down 4 and 13 percent, respectively, and we experienced windy conditions the first weekend and both wind and rain the second weekend.”

Personally, the decline in hunting success doesn’t surprise me in the least, based on the  reports  I’ve gotten from other hunters. Almost to a person, the hunters I’ve talked to in northwest Minnesota have said this was one of the  quietest deer seasons they can ever remember.