Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

DNR deer study to analyze difference between private, public lands

White-tailed deer in Aitkin County on Sept. 16, 2023.
Lorie Shaull via Flickr
White-tailed deer in Aitkin County on Sept. 16, 2023.

The Department of Natural Resources will place trail cameras on public and private lands to gather deer density data throughout northeastern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is beginning a new three-year research project in northeastern Minnesota to gather more data on deer populations.

The DNR will place cameras on public and private lands to gather additional deer density data in several deer permit areas in portions of Cass, Beltrami, Itasca, Hubbard and St. Louis counties.

Traditional deer population modeling relies heavily on hunter harvest data, but the DNR said this project will provide additional data to increase confidence in making harvest decisions in the study area. The DNR also plans to use the data to better understand if deer densities differ between public and private lands.

"Hunting pressure and land management practices can vary greatly across land ownerships, and we hope to quantify that difference and use this new information to improve our understanding of deer populations in the forested region of the state," said lead researcher Eric Michel in a DNR new release.

This month, DNR researchers will contact private landowners by mail in preselected locations to request access to their property to install an unbaited trail camera. Trail cameras will collect time-lapsed data from July to September and be removed before the start of fall hunting seasons.

To assist in processing the massive amounts of data collected with time-lapsed photography, the project will use machine learning and artificial intelligence programs. The technology and methodology were successfully used in previous studies.

Results and final analysis of the data are expected in 2027.