Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Minnesota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Minnesota Project

Minnesota Landowner Perceptions of Deer Management in SE Minnesota

May 2012 - June 2013


Participating Agencies

  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has done extensive work with deer hunters in southeastern Minnesota. Since 2005, DNR has staffed biological deer check stations to assess age and sex ratios or harvested deer, surveyed hunters regarding attitudes and acceptance of different regulations, and ultimately changed regulations in 2010. Unlike previous surveys that have focused on a particular group (e.g., anglers waterfowl hunters, deer hunters), DNR research has not been conducted on private landowners. This is an important segment of the population as they control access and may or may not change their behavior based on their perceptions of deer populations and regulations. While southeastern Minnesota is a dynamic landscape with a mix of traditional agriculture, dairy/cattle, and recreational landowners, their opinions are poorly understood. Also, there is a perception that leasing for hunting is increasing and management options may be limited along with access restrictions. Objectives: 1) Conduct focus groups with landowners to determine the underlying issues and complications with private land deer management. 2) Use the focus groups to inform development of a self-administered mail back questionnaire to landowners. 3) Develop a dataset for analysis so that data can be presented at Legislative hearings, public meetings, and to wildlife staff. 4) These results will be compared with other survey results in the to finalize future harvest regulations.