Special deer hunts to be held in 21 State Parks in November, December
Special deer hunts will take place this fall in 21 Minnesota state parks
for those persons selected in a special hunt drawing to be held by the
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
While most of the parks will remain open to the public during the hunts, for
public safety reasons a number of parks will have some use restrictions.
Restrictions will range from closing trails or areas of the park to
restricting use of the park to special hunt permit holders only during the
duration of the hunt. For example, Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park will
be open to the public during the special hunt in the park, but the park’s
horse trails will be closed and use of the other hiking trails is
discouraged. Due to the extensive area being hunted at Afton and Crow Wing
State Parks, use of these parks is restricted to special permit holders.
PICK UP A MAP; WEAR BRIGHT COLORS
DNR officials said that visitors who plan to use the parks during the
special hunt event should stop at the office when they arrive to pick up a
map of the no hunting zones in the park. Maps of these zones will also be
posted in various locations in the parks.
DNR officials strongly suggest that visitors wear blaze orange while they
are in a park that is holding a special hunt and that they take care to
remain within the designated no hunting areas.
Visitors might also think about choosing an alternative park nearby for
recreation if a special hunts is being conducted at the park they had
planned to visit. For example, Interstate State Park on the St. Croix River
will not be hosting a deer hunt this year and is an alternative choice for
fall hiking or picnicking on the weekends that park use is restricted to
hunt permit holders only at nearby Wild River and William O’Brien state
parks. The public may contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 297-6157
or 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367) for assistance in choosing alternate locations.
HUNTS HELP CONTROL EXPLODING DEER POPULATIONS
State parks annually host a number of deer hunts in order to manage park
resources, according to Ed Quinn, resource management coordinator for
Minnesota state parks.
“Deer are part of the natural communities that we seek to preserve or
restore in state parks,” Quinn said. “When deer populations in an area
become too high, however, they can have significant negative impacts on the
natural balance of plant and animal communities. Heavy deer browsing on
seedling trees during the winter, can nearly eliminate regeneration of some
tree species, such as pine.”
Quinn added that deer browse can also greatly reduce the numbers and
varieties of wildflowers and other herbaceous plants that grow on the forest
“Techniques, such as bud-capping and exclosures are also used to control
levels of deer browse,” Quinn said. “Our overall goal is to manage deer so
that populations are at levels that do not negatively affect the other
natural resources. In some cases, that is best accomplished through special
While most of the hunts are designated for regular firearms, nine parks will
hold hunts for muzzleloaders. The hunts at Wild River, Rice Lake and Lake
Bemidji state parks include opportunities for hunters with disabilities.
Flandrau State Park is open to use by the public during the city of New Ulm
archery deer hunt.
For more information on special hunts, call the DNR Information Center at
(651) 297-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367), or visit the state
park pages on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.
STATE PARKS THAT WILL HOLD SPECIAL HUNTS INCLUDE:
*Afton State Park (Dec. 3-4) Muzzleloader Big Island State Park (Nov.
29-Dec. 1) Muzzleloader; (Dec. 13-14 Muzzleloader
*Crow Wing State Park (Dec. 5-7) Muzzleloader
Flandrau State Park (Part of New Ulm City Hunt) Archery
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park (Nov. 22-24) Regular Firearms
Gooseberry Falls State Park (Nov. 8-23) Regular Firearms
*Jay Cooke State Park (Nov. 29 – Dec. 3) Muzzleloader
Itasca State Park (Nov. 8-16) Regular Firearms
Lake Bemidji State Park (Nov. 8-11) Shotgun and Muzzleloader (Nov. 10-11, up
to five disabled hunters will get a partner from Bemidji Minnesota Deer
Lake Bronson State Park (Nov. 8-10) Regular Firearms
*Lake Shetek State Park (Dec. 6-9) Muzzleloader
Maplewood State Park (Nov. 15-18) Regular Firearms
Nerstrand Big Woods (Nov. 29-Dec. 1 and Dec. 5-7) Muzzleloader
Rice Lake State Park (Nov. 29-Dec. 1 and Dec. 5-7) Muzzleloader (Hunting
blind will be available for hunters with disabilities)
*St. Croix State Park (Nov. 15-16) Regular Firearms
*Savanna Portage State Park (Nov. 15-21) Regular Firearms
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (Nov. 8-23) Regular Firearms
**Tettegouche State Park (Nov. 8-23) Regular Firearms
*Wild River State Park (Nov. 8-9) Regular Firearms (Accessible elevated
platforms for disabled hunters available.)
*William O'Brien State Park* (Nov. 8-9) Regular Firearms
Zippel Bay State Park (Nov. 8-16) Regular Firearms
*These parks will restrict park use to hunters only.
**In Tettegouche State Park, the only portion of the park that will remain
open to the public is on the Lake Superior side of Minnesota State Highway
61. This includes Shovel Point and the mouth of the Baptism River, the
park's cart-in campground, Palisade Head and the Baptism River wayside. Note
that the park's main campground, the Illgen Falls cabin and the cabins at
Tettegouche Camp will be closed to the public during the hunt.
Click Here To Return To The Previous Page