Courtesy of the Minnesota DNR
Special resource management deer hunts are scheduled to take place this fall at several Minnesota state parks. Access to parks around the state will vary during the hunts, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Some parks will remain open to all visitors, some will have limited public access and some will be open only to hunters with special permits.
The deadlines for youth and adults to apply for a special permit to participate in the hunts – which include regular firearms, muzzleloader and archery options – have passed.
A list of parks that are open, partially open or closed during the 2012 hunting season are available online or by calling the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-5157 or toll-free 1 (888) 646-6367, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The DNR advises anyone planning to visit a state park between now and December to look online or call ahead to find out whether a hunt is planned and confirm whether the park will be open.
The DNR also advises visitors to parks where hunts are planned to wear blaze orange, even if they will not be hunting.
Visitors should check for hunt-related information at the park office when they arrive, look carefully for hunt-related signage and follow instructions.
“The DNR allows these annual resource management hunts as a way to help control the deer population at state parks,” said Ed Quinn, resource management consultant for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division.
“When there are too many deer in one area it can negatively impact the native plants and animals, and our goal is to ensure healthy natural communities,” he said.
Quinn said the DNR appreciates the patience and understanding of visitors at parks where access will be limited during the hunts.
Parks that will be open only to hunters with special permits (hunt dates in parentheses): Afton State Park (Nov. 2-5); Crow Wing State Park (Dec. 7-9); Frontenac State Park (Nov. 17-19); Great River Bluffs State Park (Oct. 26-29); Lake Shetek State Park (Dec. 1-2); Mille Lacs Kathio (Nov. 9-11); Rice Lake State Park (Dec. 1-2); Sibley State Park (Nov. 24-25); St. Croix State Park (Nov. 9-12); Wild River State Park (Nov. 3-5); and William O’Brien State Park (Nov. 10-11).
Parks where some areas will be open only to hunters with special permits but other areas will remain open to all visitors (hunt dates in parentheses): Banning State Park (Oct. 27-28); Big Stone Lake State Park (Dec. 1-2); Cascade River State Park (Nov. 3-18); Flandrau State Park (Oct. 13-Dec. 31; Gooseberry Falls State Park (Nov. 3-18); Savanna Portage State Park (Oct. 27-28 and Nov. 10-12); Scenic State Park (Nov. 3-18); Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (Nov. 3-18); and Tettegouche State Park (Oct. 20-21 and Nov. 3-18).
Parks that will remain open to all visitors during special hunts (hunt dates in parentheses) and parks with a portion of land open to hunters during hunting season: Buffalo River State Park (Nov. 3-4); Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park (Nov. 3-5); Glacial Lakes State Park (Nov. 8-11); Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area (Sept. 15-Dec. 31); Hayes Lake State Park (Nov. 3-18); Itasca State Park (Oct. 13-14, Nov. 3-11 and Nov. 24-Dec. 9); Judge C.R. Magney State Park (Nov. 3-18); Lake Bemidji State Park (Oct. 13-14 and Nov. 3-6); Lake Bronson State Park (Nov. 3-11); Lake Carlos State Park (Nov. 3-6); Lake Louise State Park (Nov. 10-11); Lake Vermilion State Park (Nov. 24-Dec. 9); Maplewood State Park (Nov. 3-6); Old Mill State Park (Nov. 3-6); Sibley State Park (Oct. 27-28); St. Croix State Park (Oct. 27-28; equestrian trails closed in hunt area); Schoolcraft State Park (Nov. 3-18); Soudan Underground Mine State Park (Nov. 24-Dec. 9); and Zippel Bay State Park (Oct. 13-14 and Nov. 3-18).
Parks that are wholly or partially open to hunting (all seasons) by legislation (plus “special” hunts, where indicated): Big Bog State Recreation Area; Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area; Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park (Nov. 3-5); Garden Island State Recreation Area; George H. Crosby-Manitou State Park; La Salle Lake State Recreation Area (open to hunting during designated seasons for protected species); Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (Nov. 3-18); Temperance River State Park; and Tettegouche State Park (Oct. 20-21 and Nov. 3-18).
Parks where no hunting will take place: Bear Head Lake State Park, Beaver Creek Valley State Park, Blue Mounds State Park, Camden State Park, Carley State Park, Charles A. Lindbergh State Park, Father Hennepin State Park, Fort Ridgely State Park, Fort Snelling State Park, Franz Jevne State Park, Glendalough State Park, Grand Portage State Park, Hill Annex Mine State Park, Interstate State Park, Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area, Jay Cooke State Park, John A. Latsch State Park, Kilen Woods State Park, Lac qui Parle State Park, Lake Maria State Park, McCarthy Beach State Park, Minneopa State Park, Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, Monson Lake State Park, Moose Lake State Park, Myre-Big Island State Park, Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Red River State Recreation Area, Sakatah Lake State Park, Split Rock Creek State Park, Upper Sioux Agency State Park and Whitewater State Park.
The city of New Ulm is having an archery deer hunt Oct. 13-Dec. 31. Some of the deer stands are located within Flandrau State Park, but nowhere near trails or public use areas.
The park will therefore remain open to all visitors during this time. There is no archery or other hunting anywhere else in the park.
Although there is no hunt at Hill Annex Mine State Park, the park is only open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Details on which areas of each park will be affected by the special deer hunts are included in the “Visitor Alert!” boxes on the individual park Web pages.
Information is also available by calling DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 1 (888) 646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.