OUTDOORS: This and that for deer hunting tomorrow

WORTHINGTON -- Tomorrow is the opener of the 2009 firearms deer season. This is going to be one of the gun seasons that the final score will most likely look something like deer 5,950, hunters 51. It has been many years since I have seen a deer o...

WORTHINGTON -- Tomorrow is the opener of the 2009 firearms deer season.

This is going to be one of the gun seasons that the final score will most likely look something like deer 5,950, hunters 51.

It has been many years since I have seen a deer opener with this amount of standing corn. Harvest is in high gear and these acres are coming out fast. There is still no way that with farmers in high gear the deer are going to have a hard time finding a really big and really good place to hide.

I have seen groups of hunters that watched a nice buck enter an 80-acre corn field. These hunters (about eight in the group) hunted and made numerous deer drives in this field, and after an hour had still not been able to successfully drive the deer from the property.

Deer just backtrack and maneuver inside the man-made maze, and in almost all similar cases, the deer comes out on top.


Many of the fields in our area are 160-360 acres in size and I don't see any hunting group, no matter how big or how good, being successful in these types of efforts.

This will be the year of extra efforts and rewards will go to the very good, the very lucky or the very patient.

I ran through the lists of deer regulation changes and wanted to highlight some of the most relevant ones.

The first change that I have mentioned before is the gun case law. You can now travel between hunting spots in a motor vehicle with an uncased gun as long as that gun is unloaded.

The law states that if you pass through a town with a population of 2,500, that a case must be used. The one fact that eludes most hunters is that the law also states that if the town has a regulation against firearm discharge within the city limits, the case must also be used when traveling through that town.

I know of no town in southwest Minnesota that does not have such a law.

What this means is that in every town, the gun must be cased. Don't make a bad mistake on this one because you didn't know the rule. To be safe, just keep it cased.

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. This allows hunters to pursue deer at the times of day when deer increase their natural movement.


In Nobles County this means that you can shoot a deer starting at 6:37 a.m. and must quit at 5:32 p.m. This is one of those rules that gets fudged more than a little. It really depends on just how lucky you think you are. I just look at the table and stay out of trouble.

Deer stands that are permanent can only be 16 feet off the ground. Portable stands can be as high as you are willing to fall. Portable stands cannot be left on public property overnight. If you are going to use a stand please use a safety harness. Deer-stand falls are quite common and can result in some really cracked-up backs. Ending up wheelchair bound is just as hard on your family as it is you.

Use a harness!

Blaze orange clothes are required. The entire upper body must be covered in blaze orange. A blaze orange hat is no longer required, but if you do wear a hat, then it must be orange. No other color hat can be worn. This one kind of makes me scratch my head.

Baiting is an absolute no-no. An area is considered baited until 10 days after the last kernel or seed has been eaten or removed.

One of the biggest changes for this season is that Rock and Nobles County are "buck only" counties. This means that all hunters can only shoot a buck.

Youth are also limited to bucks only unless they were lucky enough to get on of the 50 does tags in each county. If the youth did not get one of these very limited doe tags, they are limited to bucks-only hunting.

This was as a result of far too many adults shooting and filling the automatic doe tags that kids used to get. It seems that this rule will be in effect until populations get back to desired ranges.


Adults cannot fill youth doe tags, PERIOD!

It is my hope that this season has no issues with the next item.

Trespassing is a big hassle for everyone involved. The law states that you cannot enter agricultural land without permission to hunt, regardless if the property is posted or not.

The only difference between trespassing on agricultural land that is posted, or the land that is not posted, is the fine and the other enforcement actions.

If you are caught trespassing on non-posted land the fine is $185. If the same trespass takes place on posted land the end result will be a court appearance, and if found guilty, the immediate suspension of your hunting privileges for two years and a fine to be determined by the judge. I imagine that the fine depending on the offense will be very substantial.

The very best thing that all individuals can do when they are in the field is behave in a manner that all hunters can be proud of. It truly is the one thing that will continue the support of non-hunters in the years to come.

If you see someone acting in a manner that reflects poorly on true hunters pick up your cell phone and dial #TIP and hit the send button. This works with ALLTEL, UNICELL, VERIZON, ATT carriers and some others. If you need to call from a landline, call 1-800-652-9093.

Do your part and hunters and non-hunters alike can enjoy the outdoors and the game harvest that is so close to many of our hearts.


Here's wishing a huge buck walks past your stand.

Scott Rall is the Daily Globe's outdoors columnist. His column can also be read weekly at by clicking on Northland Outdoors.

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