A harsh winter and an abundance of hunter concerns have led Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reduce the number of deer that will be taken this year. In some areas (like the one I hunt in) the option to buy a second tag (or bonus permit) is no longer on the table; other zones have changed from “hunter choice” (one deer of either gender) to “lottery” (random selection of doe tags for those who apply between August 1st and September 4th). The most notable change however, is the conversion of the entire northeastern part of the state to antler only (with no option, even for archers, to take antler-less).
Animal talk has been replacing temperature talk in recent weeks. With spring well underway some creatures are on the hunt for food after the tough winter; others are simply migrating through. Even bald eagles have experienced their fair share of drama this season (in one case before our eyes).
The good news about this April is that it feels like April. People and animals alike are appearing outside in greater numbers; the deep freeze is over (we hope).
The DNR and its controversial deer feeding program are also adjusting for the changing season. It’s ending this Saturday. With the melting snow the deer can at last get to the vegetation and seeds they need until the fresh buds of spring are available.