Now is the Time to Plan for 2008 Minnesota Deer License Options

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Now is the Time to Plan for 2008 Minnesota Deer License OptionsMinnesotans who intend to hunt deer this fall may want to start scouting their license-buying options now. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding hunters that 2008 deer hunting licenses will be a departure from the past. 

“We’ve simplified license-buying and a number of regulations,” said Dennis Simon, DNR Wildlife Section chief. “And because of that, we ask that hunters, during this transition year, familiarize themselves with those options now. Our aim is to avoid potential confusion during the last-minute rush of license buying in early November.”

Deer hunting licenses are now available for purchase. The regulation book, which includes a color map, helps explain the new system.

Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game coordinator, said the new license options will benefit hunters in a number of ways. For example, deer hunters now can buy multiple licenses for the specific types of hunting they do rather than a single inclusive license, have more flexibility in where they hunt, and may choose from a wider selection of firearms.

“Minnesota had more types of licenses and options than any other Midwestern state,” Cornicelli said. “The changes for the 2008 season fulfill the hunting community’s desire to dramatically simplify deer hunting regulations.”

The changes were developed by a group of stakeholders during the last year and approved by the Legislature this spring. They allow deer hunters to buy a firearms, archery and muzzleloader license singly or in any combination. This a la carte approach eliminates the all-season deer license and multi-zone buck license, which in many cases will save hunters money.

“We found that the vast majority of hunters who spent $78 on an all-season deer license were only hunting two seasons: archery and firearms or firearms and muzzleloader,” Cornicelli said. “The new regulations allow hunters to buy an archery and firearms license, for example, saving them $26 a year.”

Hunters need to be aware that bag limits in the area they choose to hunt take precedence over the number of licenses they can purchase. Hunters can buy a maximum of three licenses – archery, firearms and muzzleloader – but not all deer areas allow hunters to harvest three deer. Hunters should consult the regulation book to determine the bag limit for the deer area they hunt.

Deer areas are annually designated as lottery, managed, intensive, or early antlerless, so hunters should read the regulations to determine if they need to apply for an either-sex permit.

A second major revision consolidates the six traditional firearms zone licenses, the all-season deer license, and the multi-zone buck license into two license types: a statewide A license and a late southeast B season license.

The statewide A license is valid in all deer areas that begin on Nov. 8 and hunters are no longer required to stay in their traditional zone. The $26 statewide A license is valid during the following seasons: Nov. 8-23 in northeastern Minnesota (deer areas in the 100 range); Nov. 8-16 in most of southern, central and northwestern Minnesota (deer areas in the 200 range); and Nov. 8-14 in southeastern Minnesota (deer areas in the 300 range).

The late southeast B license preserves the traditional nine-day season in southeastern Minnesota, which will begin Nov. 22 and end Nov. 30. Hunters may purchase a regular firearms deer license in either the statewide A or late season B license, but not both.

The muzzleloader season runs statewide from Nov. 29-Dec. 14. This year, any hunter can purchase a muzzleloader license. This new rule includes traditional 3B deer hunters who were formerly excluded from that season.

In areas of Minnesota where deer populations are below goals and either-sex permits are limited, hunters who opt to buy a firearms and a muzzleloader license must apply for an either-sex permit by Sept. 4. Lottery winners will receive a permit valid for either the firearm or the muzzleloader season. Hunters who purchase only a muzzleloader license in these areas can take an either-sex deer without applying in the lottery.

A third regulation revision allows hunters to harvest deer with firearms that shoot centerfire ammunition of .220 caliber or larger, which is consistent with the regulations of most other Midwestern states. There no longer is a shell casing length provision. Although the centerfire law has changed, the rifle-shotgun line has not, so hunters are cautioned to know what constitutes a legal firearm in the area they hunt.

The final regulation revision eliminates the need to for hunters to cut a notch in their license. Tagging rules still require that the site tag be notched at the kill site to indicate time and date of kill and properly attached to the animal according to the regulations. The only change is hunters do not need to validate their deer license.