Firearms Deer Opener is Nov. 9, 2019.

deer opener

Area hunter Bryce Johnson holds his hunting prize. Firearms deer opener is Nov. 3.

The fall tradition of deer season is right around the corner as firearms deer opener begins a half hour before sunrise on Saturday, Nov. 9. This yearly "holiday" is honored on the Whitefish Chain for both hunters, who take to the area's pristine woods to bag their bucks, and those who are less interested in hunting, who can enjoy fun local events.

The weather report for Saturday is looking characteristically chilly for deer hunters with  high of around 34 degrees. The day is forecast to be cloudy, but will only have a small chance of precipitation.

This year the DNR is continuing mandatory chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing, and it's asking all hunters for their help with stopping the spread of the disease. Testing was also required the last two years and came after a farm-raised deer in Merrifield tested positive for CWD. This year the entire area surrounding the Whitefish Chain is zone 604 and is part of the north central CWD management zone. On the plus side, permit holders are able to take one antlered deer and unlimited antlerless deer with the purchase of disease management tags.

Testing will be required for all deer taken in the zone. Have your deer tested at any of the area sampling stations. After your deer is tested, you can check test results on the DNR's website.

The DNR is also asking hunters to dispose of their deer carcasses in the Crow Wing County Landfill. This is because CWD can lay dormant for years, waiting to infect another deer or moose. By disposing of carcasses properly, the spread of the disease will be limited. The Crow Wing County Landfill will be open on Saturdays and Sundays during hunting season just for deer carcass disposal. More info is available on the Crow Wing County website.

Learn more about CWD and the efforts to curb the spread, including testing and disposal locations, at the DNR's north central CWD management page.

If you're not a hunter, don't worry! Deer hunting "widows" and those not interested in hunting can enjoy local shopping, including the annual Pequot Lakes fall Block Party! From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, local stores will offer specials and be stamping cards. Pick up your card from any of the participating businesses and then have it stamped at each of the stores on the card. Fill out your card and turn it in to Leslie's Boutique by 5 p.m. to be entered in a drawing for both Grand Prize and Runner Up prize baskets filled with fantastic goods from local businesses. Get on the "hunt" for every stamp, because only full cards will be eligible for winning the prize!

Participating local businesses will hold specials and will also have snacks for visitors to enjoy. Find more information on individual deals and how the stamp card drawing works at the Pequot Lakes Community Action Facebook page.

Whether you're deer hunting or just hunting for a great bargain, you'll have a great time on the Whitefish Chain this weekend.

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