Minnesota's 2001 hunting and trapping seasons were announced last week by the DNR.
"The outlook for Minnesota deer hunters this fall is great," Commissioner Allen Garber said. "But grouse and pheasant hunters will likely find tougher hunting due to a cool, wet nesting season that hurt chick production and survival."
Minnesota has strong breeding populations of waterfowl, but the potential for significant improvement in hunting success this fall depends on weather patterns and the long-term effects of new plans and initiatives to improve duck migration habitats and hunting.
Breeding Giant Canada geese generally are abundant but declines were noted in some areas. However, the migratory geese that travel through western Minnesota from Canada are not faring as well as local birds. The Eastern Prairie Population Canada geese nest near Hudson Bay and migrate through western Minnesota.
Ruffed grouse are in the decline phase of their population cycle. Bear and turkey populations remain at all-time highs. Pheasant numbers likely have been hurt by deep winter snows and chick survival hurt by a cool, wet nesting season.
More will be known about waterfowl and upland game populations when summer surveys are completed.
Hunters should be aware of several new laws in effect this fall, including changes to the language of the trespass laws on Conservation Reserve Program and Reinvest in Minnesota program lands; an increase in the bear limit; resumption of moose hunting in northeastern Minnesota; elimination of site-tagging for fisher, marten and otter; and changes in criteria for issuing disability permits to shoot from a motor vehicle.
Waterfowl regulation changes will be announced later this summer.
2001 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Seasons
Cottontail rabbit, jackrabbit, snowshoe hare, Sept. 15-Feb. 28.
Gray and fox squirrel, Sept. 15-Feb. 28.
Ruffed and spruce grouse, Sept. 15-Dec. 31.
Sharp-tailed grouse, Sept. 15-Nov. 30.
Gray (Hungarian) partridge, Sept. 15-Dec. 31.
Ring-necked pheasant, Oct. 13-Dec. 16.
Crow, March 1-31 and July 15-Oct. 15.
Woodcock, Sept. 22-Nov. 5.
Common snipe (Wilson's or Jacksnipe), Sept. 1-Nov. 4.
Sora and Virginia Rails, Sept. 1-Nov. 4.
Early Canada Goose (statewide, except Northwest Zone) Sept. 1; close will be announced.
Early Canada Goose (Northwest Zone), Sept. 1-15.
Youth Waterfowl Hunt, Sept. 15.
Waterfowl opener (TBA).
Archery Deer, Northeast Border Zone (permit areas 116 and 127), Sept. 15-Nov. 18; Remainder of State, Sept. 15-Dec. 31.
Firearms Deer, Zone 1, Nov. 3-18; Zone 2, Nov. 3-11; Zone 3A, Nov. 3-11; Zone 3B, Nov. 17-23; Zone 4A, Nov. 3-4; Zone 4B, Nov. 10-13.
Muzzleloader Deer, Nov. 24-Dec. 9.
Bear, Aug. 22-Oct. 14.
Moose (northeast zone only), Sept. 29-Oct. 14.
Raccoon and red fox, continuous.
Gray fox, badger and opossum, Sept. 15-March 15.
Bobcat, Nov. 24-Jan. 6.
Pine marten and fisher, Nov. 24-Dec. 9.
Mink and muskrat, Oct. 27-Feb. 28.
Beaver, Oct. 27-May 15.
Otter, Oct. 27-Jan. 6.
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