Survey gauges hunter’s opinions on deer regulation changes in southeastern Minnesota

Category: press release

 Dec 15th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Dec 15th, 2009 at 12:00 AM

A majority of southeastern Minnesota hunters support regulations that protect a majority of yearling bucks, according to a new survey from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The survey, conducted this fall, was designed to assess proposed or possible regulatory changes. It was mailed to a statistically representative sample of 3,000 deer hunters age 18 or older who indicated they hunted either the 3A or 3B firearm deer seasons during 2008.

Hunters’ top choices for deer regulation changes in southeastern Minnesota were prohibiting the cross-tagging of bucks and instituting an antler point restriction.

The DNR received responses from 1,740 hunters – a margin of error of 2.2 percent.

Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game coordinator who developed the survey with the assistance of DNR research staff and three deer hunting groups, said hunter support for various management strategies was as follows:

    * 53 percent support enacting regulations that protect a majority of yearling                  bucks.
    * 54 percent support implementing a four-day youth-only deer hunt over what is          commonly  known as Minnesota Education Association (MEA) weekend.
    * 50 percent support requiring hunters to shoot and tag their own buck, rather than allowing cross-tagging.
    * 47 percent support instituting an antler point restriction regulation.
    * 41 percent support restoring the 3A season to 9 days.
    * 34 percent support restoring the 3B season to 7 days.
    * 31 percent support delaying the 3A firearm season one week.
    * 18 percent support delaying the 3A firearm season to late November.

“It’s interesting to note there weren’t any differences in attitudes between hunters from the 3A and 3B seasons,” said Cornicelli, who noted 3A hunters self-identify as more traditional and selective buck hunters whereas 3B hunters describe themselves as more meat-oriented and less concerned about mature bucks.

“The survey results illustrate that 3A and 3B hunters have the same opinions on deer management issues,” he said. “The differences lie in the season they hunt, not the type of deer hunted.”

Overall, Cornicelli said, a majority of hunters support regulations that protect yearling bucks.

While support was lower than previously reported in other DNR surveys the question was more specific on this survey. Previously, DNR has asked generically if hunters supported mature buck regulations and support was hovered around 60 to 65 percent.

“This survey specifically mentioned protecting yearling bucks so it wasn’t surprising that overall support was slightly lower than previously reported,”Cornicelli said.

Responses to other survey questions indicate:

    * 24 percent also hunted the archery season and 15 percent also hunted the muzzleloader season.
    * The average of number of years a person has been hunting is 25 and they have hunted their specific deer area for 18.5 years.
    * 30 percent hunt on land they own, 74 percent hunt on land they don’t own and 4 percent leased land for hunting.
    * Only 7 percent belonged to an organized hunting group.
    * Only 8 percent hunted exclusively on public land.
    * 3 percent of landowners allow public hunting to anyone who asks.

To put the survey in context, beginning in 2003 the DNR made antlerless permits available during the 3A season in response to increasing deer populations. Also in 2003, several other changes were instituted that included shortening the 3A season by two days and lengthening the 3B season by two days. In 2004, youth hunters were allowed to hunt both seasons.

The full survey report is available on the DNR Web site at mndnr.gov.


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