Minnesota's muzzleloader deer season is open to any eligible hunter, even if that hunter participated in the regular firearms season, according to the DNR.
"New this year, firearms deer hunters now can purchase a muzzleloader license," said Lou Cornicelli, the DNR's big game program coordinator.
The 16-day statewide muzzleloader season opened Saturday and ends Dec. 14. Before an "a la carte" deer licensing system was implemented this year, only hunters with an all-season license could hunt both the regular firearms and muzzleloader seasons.
Hunters must adhere to the bag limits for the deer area they are hunting. Hunters may buy extra licenses, but the bag limit, which varies depending on deer area, dictates how many deer may be tagged by a hunter. The statewide bag limit is five deer regardless of where each of those deer is taken. Hunters should refer to the 2008 hunting regulations book for complete information on the muzzleloader deer season and associated bag limits.
A muzzleloader license is valid for either-sex deer in managed and intensive deer areas. Hunters in lottery areas who buy both a firearm and muzzleloader license may take an either-sex deer only if they were successful in the September lottery. Hunters with only a muzzleloader license who did not purchase a regular firearms license may take a deer of either sex in lottery areas without an either-sex permit.
As of Monday, deer harvest in the state was reportedly down 9 percent from last year, with just over 171,000 deer taken, compared to nearly 188,000 at that time a year ago. Still, Cornicelli said it will probably be the sixth best harvest since 1990.
Deer harvest numbers include totals from bow, firearms and muzzleloader hunting, but about 90 percent of the total typically comes from firearms.
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