Weather Forecast


High hopes, big winds, tall corn: Many factors at play in today’s deer firearm season opener

Ashtynne Engler, left, and Jennifer Ditmarson work Register 2 where deer firearm season licenses were being sold Friday at Runnings in Willmar. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR — Big winds, tall corn, and high hopes are all at play today as Minnesota’s deer firearm season opens.

“They’ll shoot deer,’’ said Greg Melges, Mel’s Sport Shop, Spicer. Like most, he is optimistic about the prospects for success on the opening weekend, but also cautious about predicting how successful the opening weekend will prove.

There remain areas in northern Kandiyohi County where plenty of corn still waits to be harvested.

And, the opening day forecast is for windy conditions, which tends to cause deer to hunker down and reduce hunter success.

One thing is certain. There will be plenty of hunters in the fields with high hopes. Melges said it’s been as busy as any previous year at the sport shop as hunters stock up.

Corey Edman, Pete’s Surplus, New London, is also expecting a good opening weekend. But he too is quick to point out that there remain areas with lots of corn where deer can hide. “A lot of it,’’ he said of the corn in some areas.

By the same token, Edman expects that farmers will be working the fields hard and helping move the deer.

   Also working in the favor of hunters this weekend are reports of a good deer population in the region. Deer numbers are about where the state is seeking to manage the population, perhaps just a tad bit higher. More doe permits were issued this year than last.

The prospects for success are good to the west and south too, where the corn harvest is much farther along.

Curt Vacek, Minnesota DNR wildlife manager for Big Stone, Lac qui Parle and Swift counties, said that perhaps 90 percent or more of the corn crop has been harvested in the area around the Lac qui Parle wildlife refuge.

Deer numbers are looking good in that area too. DNR wildlife workers reported seeing more deer than they anticipated last August when they conducted roadside counts for pheasants, he noted.

Statewide, some 460,000 plus hunters are expected to take to the field during the firearms season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Hunters are expected to harvest as many deer as last year, 185,000, or perhaps a little better.  The firearms season in much of western and southern Minnesota continues through Nov. 17.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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