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MN Forcing Quality Deer Management

I was talking with a new friend of mine today who mentioned that for those of us hunting in MN zone 300, there is a minimum size buck rule this year.    The buck must have at least 4 points on one side in order to be a legal buck if you are hunting in zone 338 – 349 in Minnesota.  See page 85 of the regs.  Download the pdf at http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/regulations/hunting/2010/full_regs.pdf.

I think this is a great move.  Too many times I have seen small forkies tied to the back of a car going down the highway.  If we want to see bigger bucks in Minnesota, we have to let the smaller deer grow up.  According to the regs, this will save at least half of the yearling buck population.  Hunters will be amazed at what a 2 1/2 year old deer looks like.  Now if only they could lay off the animal until it is 4 1/2 years old.

Our team trys to enforce an 18 inch spread on any animal we hunt.  Our rule of thumb is that the rack has to be outside the ears in order to shoot at it.  That rule has had me pass on some nice deer with tall narrow racks.  However, it has also helped me layoff some questionable deer in my career.  I applaud the MN DNR for this move and hope that it sticks around for some time to come.  Yes I know it is fun to let your child get their first kill and shoot any animal they want.  But teaching them quality deer management from the start is a good thing.

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