- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 2, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Deer hunting restrictions will be eased a bit in Minnesota this fall.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said one-deer limits are still in place for much of the state. But, there will be nine fewer zones where hunters can take only bucks.

Licenses for this deer season went on sale Monday. Bow hunting season is 47 days away.

DNR big game program leader Adam Murkowski told the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/2axAA7i ) a couple of mild winters have improved the deer population.

“Now we can give hunters more chances while doing it in a way that still allows growth,” Murkowski said.

The whitetail herd is estimated at about 1 million. Last year, about 159,000 deer were taken by hunters.

The new hunting regulations reflect the practical notion that more deer are on the state’s landscape, said Craig Engwall, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.

“I haven’t gone into great detail into every deer permit area, but it seems solid, reasonable,” Engwall said.

On Monday, the DNR also announced two moves to keep chronic wasting disease out of Minnesota. Hunters can no longer bring whole deer, elk, moose or caribou carcasses into the state from anywhere in North America. They must leave behind parts of those animals that are known to be highly concentrated with the disease.

The agency will also accelerate testing of the disease in southeastern Minnesota’s herd because of its proximity to a large outbreak in Wisconsin. The State Board of Animal Health agreed to the new regulations.

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Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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