Hundreds of thousands of people across our region are packing up and getting ready for it. The North Dakota deer hunting opener is tomorrow and Minnesota's is Saturday.
In Minnesota, fewer doe permits were issued this year, in an effort to increase the overall deer population. It's taken a hit in recent years from disease and tough winters.
So, the average number of 200,000 deer harvested in Minnesota every year, is expected to drop to 120,000 this year.
David Rave, MN DNR: “We did some public input meetings and found people wanted to see more deer during the deer season. They didn't feel the population was as high as they'd like it to be. So, this year we've made an effort to reduce the number of antlerless deer that are killed.”
However, it's still expected that half a million deer hunters will appear in the woods of Minnesota this weekend. And it's estimated they'll spend 230-million dollars. It's big business.
Big business for bars, restaurants, motels and sporting goods stores across Minnesota and North Dakota.
Earlier today they were getting ready for the 2014 Minnesota Governor's Deer Hunting Opener banquet at the Sanford Center in Bemidji.
Rita Albrecht, Bemidji Mayor: “And we're excited that the Governor is going to be here. We'll have a banquet at 6:30. Tomorrow morning we'll have some interviews with folks. But, the economy is really important to us and we know that hunting and the hunting tradition adds a lot to that.”
And one final note of caution to all you deer hunters from the DNR.
David Rave, DNR: “People should know what they're shooting at and what's beyond what they're shooting at, because if they miss their target or even hit a deer, the bullet can go through the deer and still cause damage. And if you're to party at all, wait until after the hunt.