Deer hunters in Minnesota will have an enhanced opportunity at harvesting an animal this year. "This season, hunters in general will see more chances to harvest deer. These opportunities are due to increases in deer populations in much of the state and as part of our response to chronic wasting disease (CWD) in southern Minnesota," said Barbara Keller, big game program leader with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Considering the big increase in fishing license sales this year, there's reason to think hunting numbers could be up as well. People are looking for activities to do with many regular annual events canceled due to the pandemic. Outdoor activities have the allure of being easy to practice social distancing.

One of the rules changes this coming season is the expansion of early antlerless permits in central and southern Minnesota. Testing for CWD is voluntary this year, however, the DNR will set up self-service stations making it easy for hunters to drop off a sample.

The DNR will continue its youth hunting season October 15-18 statewide. In last year's inaugural season of the promotion, nearly 5,700 young deer hunters took a deer. Keller said, "Positive early hunting experiences go a long way toward starting or continuing a rewarding fall tradition. We're excited to be able to continue providing this great opportunity that helps adults introduce youth to all that deer hunting has to offer."

Deer hunting licenses go on sale August 1. They can be purchased through a DNR license agent, online at the DNR website, or by phone at 1-888-665-4236.