January 27, 2023

An Interesting And Informative Interview With Game Official

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Chris Niskanen, writer for the Pioneer Press out of St. Paul, Minnesota, has an interview with Lou Cornicelli, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources big game consultant, about the state’s deer herd and the efforts going into maintaining a healthy population.

Here’s one of the many questions and answers in the interview.

Q. More and more hunters are urging the DNR to reduce the hunting pressure on mature bucks and increase the buck-to-doe ratio. What are your thoughts on this?

A. That’s the $64,000 question. I’d say we are looking at ways of reducing buck harvest pressure. The primary example is the research project I’ve talked about.

However, in order to effect change, we need to bring hunters along. As an agency, I can’t predict we will specifically manage for more mature bucks; however, with our emphasis on antlerless harvest, I think mature bucks will be a positive byproduct of sound deer management. Again, if you take a doe instead of a buck, you’ll have the effect of managing populations and giving that buck a chance to live one more year.

Our most recent deer hunter survey once again showed majority support (65 percent) for more mature bucks but failed to identify any regulation that was supported by more than 47 percent.

Ironically, we’re one of the few states that allow people to shoot bucks for each other (party hunting). The mature buck issue becomes very difficult to understand when you have hunters who want more mature bucks yet oppose the restriction on shooting bucks for each other. Hopefully, that culture will change over time.

Tom Remington