The fall tradition of deer season is right around the corner as firearms deer opener begins a half hour before sunrise on Saturday, Nov. 3. 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.
This year is looking promising for hunters, as the DNR reports that deer numbers continue to rebound across the state. Many populations are at or above the DNR's population goal. The Whitefish Chain is in deer permit area 242, and the latest deer population report shows good numbers that have continued to rise over the past several years.
The weather report for Saturday morning is looking characteristically chilly for deer hunters with high of around 40 degrees. There will be a chance of rain showers.
This year the DNR is continuing mandatory chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing. Testing was also required last year and came after a farm-raised deer in Merrifield tested positive for CWD. Last year nearly 8,000 deer were tested in the Whitefish area and none of them came back positive for CWD.
Testing will be required for the Whitefish Area's deer permitting zone (242) as well as the zone just to the east, zone 247, on Nov. 3-4 and Nov. 17-18. Have your deer tested at any of the area sampling stations. After your deer is tested, you can check test results online. Find more information on the DNR's Hunting and CWD Testing 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. local stores will offer specials and be stamping cards. Pick up your card from It's a Wing Ding Thing in Pequot Lakes and then have it stamped at each of the stores on the card. Fill out your card and turn it in to Leslie's 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 Chamber of Commerce website.
Whether you're deer hunting or just hunting for a great bargain, you'll have a great time on the Whitefish Chain this weekend.