ST. PAUL (AP) -- Minnesota's 2000 fall hunting and trapping seasons have been announced by the DNR.
Three consecutive mild winters have helped many of the state's animal populations rebound from the severe winters of 1996 and 1997, and hunting and trapping prospects are good.
The recovery of the deer population in northern Minnesota is about two years ahead of where the DNR thought it would be. The outlook for other wildlife populations is mixed.
Ruffed grouse appear to be beginning the decline phase of their 10-year population cycle, but numbers are still relatively high in most areas. Black bear and wild turkey populations are at all-time highs and locally breeding mallards and giant Canada geese are abundant.
Pheasant populations have been hurt by the loss of Conservation Reserve Program cover in some areas, but the mild winters have helped survival.
Some new laws and regulation changes will be in effect for the fall of 2000, including the new electronic licensing system that allows hunters to buy licenses and stamps and submit applications for antlerless permits and special hunts statewide.
Following are some of the season openers:
--Firearms deer, Nov. 4; archery deer, Sept. 16; muzzleloader deer, Nov. 25; application deadline for antlerless and special hunt permits is Sept. 7.
--Wild turkey, Oct. 18-22 and Oct. 25-29, with an application deadline of July 28.
--Woodcock, Sept. 23-Nov. 6.
--Pheasant, Oct. 14-Dec. 17; gray partridge, Sept. 16-Dec. 31.
--Ruffed grouse, Sept. 16-Dec. 31; sharp-tailed grouse, Sept. 16-Nov. 30.
--Other small game, Sept. 16-Feb. 28.
--Early Canada goose, Sept. 2-Sept. 22, except in the northwest zone, where it will be Sept. 2-Sept. 15; general Canada goose, expected to be Sept. 30, except in west-central and Lac qui Parle zones, where the season is scheduled to open Oct. 7.
--Duck season is expected to open Sept. 30.
--Crow season will be March 1-March 31 and July 15-Oct. 15.
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