Setting new goals and priorities, a new statewide deer plan released on Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources increases formal opportunities for citizens to influence deer decisions as well as aim for a disease–free deer population.

"I think one of the most important parts of the plan is our commitment and the investment we are putting into communication with the public," explained DNR Wildlife Manager Leslie McInenly.  "That could be anywhere from folks who just want simple information on the deer population to opportunities to get involved and influence some of our deer management decisions."

Listening to the public is a big point of emphasis for this deer plan.

When survey results came back and many people in the state wanted a response to chronic wasting disease, or CWD, the plan provides direction for what comes next.

"A key concern for our advisory committee, our staff and the public who weighed in on the plan is the health of the wild deer herd.  We are going to be working aggressively to eliminate CWD on the landscape, if possible, as one of our top priorities in this plan," said McInenly.

As the plans turn into actions, the DNR does not want public input to go away and are now making it easier to interact and provide different points of view.

"Some of the things that people can expect to see pretty quickly is the establishment of a statewide deer input group as well as formal scheduled meetings and opportunities for people to meet with DNR staff throughout the state," added McInenly.

For almost two years now, a 19–member citizen's advisory group helped the DNR draft this deer plan.

The group's members had vast knowledge of deer management, interests related to deer and familiarity with different areas of the state once again emphasizing public involvement throughout the process.

--KEYC News 12