The latest Department of Natural Resources reports show early purchases of Minnesota deer hunting licenses are down compared to the same time last year.
“It’s a big concern for DNR and it should be for hunters, as well,” said Chris Balzer, DNR wildlife manager.
Two weeks before the opener, numbers show a 15 percent decrease.
And as the deer opener approaches, there is still a slight decline, closer to 2 percent.
“The funding that we get to manage deer populations, and to manage the hunt, comes from deer hunting licenses sales. And if licenses sales go down it impacts the funding, and it impacts what we can do,” said Balzer.
Wildlife manager Chris Balzer said this is a problem nationwide.
“There has been some decline in hunting license sales nationwide, and it’s a demographic thing, because a lot of hunters age, and maybe [we’re] not recruiting as many younger hunters. That’s the general trend,” he said.
To keep youth interested in hunting Blazer said organized youth hunts are a great place to start.
“Youth hunts are definitely good opportunities for kids to get out where there’s a little less competition from other hunters, maybe a little milder weather. That sort of thing to get exposed to it, and maybe increase their chances of success at an early age, and kind of get them fired up about it,” he said.
But the downward trend isn’t necessarily statewide.
Owner of Chalstrom Bait and Tackle, John Chalstrom, said locally, it seems they’re selling as many licenses as they ever have with big expectations for Friday sales.
“The state’s showing the numbers are down a bit. Give it a few more days, becasue our own license sales here will keep growing every day all the way until Friday–the last day to get the license before the season opener. That’s our biggest day. We’ll sell more licenses on that day than about any other day of the year,” said Chalstrom.
The Minnesota Deer Opener begins Saturday.
It runs through November 18 throughout most of north and northeast Minnesota or zone 1-hundred.
It runs through November 11 for the rest of the state.
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, firearm deer season is still two-and-a-half weeks away.
DNR spokespeople are still working to provide KBJR 6 with preliminary license sale numbers.
But spokespeople said like Minnesota, they’re expecting a spike in license sales the day before the opener.