Hunters prep for Nov. 6 deer opener

University students will be among the 475,000 Minnesotans deer hunting this year.

Laura Sievert

On Thursday evening Brandi McDonald left the University of Minnesota and headed three hours north to her hometown in Tengilly, Minn.

When deer hunting season opens Saturday, the president of the UniversityâÄôs hunting and fishing group will be ready âÄì her gunsâÄô sights checked for accuracy and the tree stand secured.

McDonald, a third-year Health and Wellness student, is one of many Minnesotans preparing for the long-time tradition of deer hunting.

Minnesota hunters will get their shot at the stateâÄôs estimated 1 million deer at least through Nov. 14, but specific season closing dates vary âÄì with the latest going until Nov. 28., according to the Department of Natural Resources.

To prepare for the season, hunters must purchase a hunting license, which is less than $30 and can be bought at any of the more than 1,500 retailers in Minnesota. 

This allows hunters to harvest a certain number of bucks and does depending on the area they are hunting in, and the necessary deer population control in that area.  In some areas where population control is a larger issue, hunters can also purchase bonus tags, which allow them to shoot more.

After the deer has been shot, the hunter places the tag on it and returns the stub to any of the license retailers to register the kill.

The University hunting and fishing club members usually go their separate ways for the hunting opener in honor of long-standing family traditions, member Jake Bendel said.

The groupâÄôs main events of include ice fishing trips, camping and an annual fishing expo for the approximately 20 members.

Bendel said heâÄôs a bow hunter, so the firearm opener was less important to him than it is to other members of the group.

As for McDonald, sheâÄôll be in her tree stand dressed in blaze orange with her mother and uncle by 5 a.m. 

âÄúIâÄôll just be sitting there,âÄù she said, âÄújust waiting for a deer to come by, basically.âÄù

She said she only plans on returning inside for lunch.

According to DNR, there are 475,000 deer hunters in Minnesota, but last year only 32 percent of those hunters actually harvested a deer during the season, and slightly more than two-thirds of those took place within the first three or four days of hunting.

McDonald, who usually gets one deer each year, has only one goal in mind this November.

âÄúI just want a really big buck,âÄù she said.