Knowing why and how rules change likely leads to more buy-in and compliance.

That’s why we like the new format used by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to help set goals for the state’s deer population.

It truly gets people involved.

The DNR is using a workshop format that will encourage small group discussions to both scope issues and create recommendations. The workshops replace the citizen advisory committees and public meetings that were used during the last round of deer goal setting in 2017.

Locally, the first workshop, Jan. 29, will allow participants to work in small groups to identify key issues of interest and priorities to guide management of the deer population. Those attending the workshop will use DNR information, including background information about the particular area; hunter and landowner survey results; and public input results.

At the second workshop, Feb. 27, participants will discuss solutions to the issues brought forward in the first workshop and create recommendations for the deer populations in those blocks. Both meetings are scheduled from 6-9 p.m. at Rainy River Community College, International Falls. For those not able to travel to International Falls, there are two satellite workshop locations offered in Waskish and Warroad.

The DNR sets deer population goals – how much of an increase or decrease is desired in a deer population in a particular deer permit area – as part of managing the state’s wild deer herd. Deer population goals will be updated on a staggered basis in 14 regional goal-setting blocks that are made of multiple deer permit areas. The population goals established in the process will provide direction for management over 10 years, with a midpoint review every five years.

Clearly, if you have an interest in the deer population — whether you are a hunter, feeder or just wildlife observer — this is the time to get involved.

And if having following the rules that impact you or your lifestyle makes you wonder why and how those decisions were made, show up at the Jan. 29 and Feb. 27 workshops and and be a part of the process.

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