WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     Special —  For many Minnesotans the deer hunting season opener is only second to the State’s fishing opener.

    Many families will come together                                      to hunt the wile white tailed deer. Fathers, sons, daughters, wives and other friends and relatives make the deer hunt a special time. While the hunt is very important, the fellowship of friends  and family provides many memories  and even more stories that will be told and retold each year they gather.

    For many, mostly youngsters, it will be the memory of getting their first deer, or missing the big buck that runs by the young hunter as they anxiously await for their prey.

    In the southern half of the state deer hunters have several options to hunt. They can hunt with  shotgun and slug, archery, and muzzle loader rifles.

    The archery deer season has been open since September 19, and continues through December 31.

    The regular slug season for   most of southern and western Minnesota begins this Saturday and runs through November 15. Muzzleloader season begins November 28 and ends December 13.

    If you are hunting in the northeast or southeast part of the state it would be a good idea to consult the Minnesota hunting  and trapping  regulations for precise information. There is also a lot of other special regulations for youth hunters, and other non traditional hunters.

            According to the Minnesota DNR this will be a tough hunt for deer hunters to get their deer this year. The DNR told hunters to expect another  conservative season as the agency  is working to rebuild the size of the state’s whitetail herd. During the recovery one-deer limits will apply again this fall. Similar restrictions during last year’s hunt made it the most conservative hunt in the past 20 years.

    Last year many deer hunters  across Minnesota did not see a single deer in five days of hunting. Many  hunters were upset how the agency is setting deer population goals.

    Minnesota Deer Hunters Association director Craig Engwall says “we’re taking a long term approach at things. We would rather have a little more difficulty getting a deer this year, and instead, build a stable herd for the future.”

    Last year 139,000 deer were killed, the lowest harvest  in more than 20 years.

    DNR big game program leader Leslie McInenly expects some  improvement with a deer kill between 140,000 and 155,000.

    There has been some change in the way hunters now pursue the whitetails today. If you drive around the state you can’t help but notice the increased number of deer-stands in wooded areas and on the edges of farm fields in the southern part of the state.

    With the farming community removing the crops earlier, there is not a lot of standing corn left for deer to hide. While a lot of hunters use deer stands,  and tree stands, others still walk through wooded cover with others posted on the opposite side of the wooded stand.

    Some hunters have begun to use hunting lodges for their deer camps, a tradition long used in the northern woods of Minnesota.

    While the numbers of deer may be down for some areas, the number of stories told in deer camp will still be about the same.

    If you are out and about during deer season, it is probably a good idea to be wearing blaze orange. Of course if you are hunting it is required by law to wear blaze orange. We wish those seeking the whitetails a great and safe hunt.