Minnesota relies on hunters to keep deer populations in check as fall ushers in hunting season

Thursday is the first full day of autumn, and in Minnesota that means deer season is right around the corner.

Stillwater resident and bow hunter Tommy Gerlach holds the buck he shot on Saturday. Saturday was the bow hunting season opener in Minnesota.

Simon Guerra

Stillwater resident and bow hunter Tommy Gerlach holds the buck he shot on Saturday. Saturday was the bow hunting season opener in Minnesota.

Ashley Bray

Thursday is the first full day of autumn, and in Minnesota that means deer season is right around the corner. About a million deer roam Minnesota each year, making them the stateâÄôs most abundant big game animal. The state relies on hunters to keep the population under control.
Above, Stillwater resident and bow hunter Tommy Gerlach holds the buck he shot Saturday in the Bayport Wildlife Management Area on the bow hunting opener.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, hunters cull close to a quarter of the whitetail deer population.
âÄúHunting is really the only tool we have to maintain population,âÄù said Emily Dunbar, who works with deer biologists at the DNR.