ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources outlined the state's first deer management plan Tuesday, aimed at setting an annual target harvest.
The plan seeks a target harvest of 200,000 whitetails. The plan is the result of a two-year effort that included meetings around Minnesota and input from a 19-member citizen advisory committee.
"We've listened, and the plan reflects that," DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in a news release. "The document is largely about sharing a vision, clarifying expectations and improving two-way communication among hunters and other stakeholders for the benefit of deer management."
The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association had advocated for a yearly target harvest of 225,000 deer. The plan calls for an annual harvest of 200,000 deer, after DNR deer biologists pushed for a target of 190,000 deer, the Star Tribune reported.
The plan also calls for annual "deer management discussions" around Minnesota, as part of the state's push for more transparency and input.
The DNR says responding to chronic wasting disease in Minnesota's wild deer herd will be a top priority for the agency. Leslie McInenly, the DNR wildlife manager who coordinated the plan, said the long-term health of Minnesota's wild deer, and the need to work aggressively to curb the disease, was a key concern raised by the advisory committee and members of the public during the plan's review.