Rice Lake State Park near Owatonna will be closed to all visitors for a special muzzleloader deer hunt taking place this Saturday and Sunday, December 2nd and 3rd.

The purpose of the hunt is to prevent overpopulation of deer and to protect natural resources.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

Too many of one animal or plant species in an area can start to throw off the balance of other species in that area. When there are too many deer in a park, they feed too much on certain trees and native plants, so occasionally we allow deer hunts as a way to protect natural resources and bring the deer population back into better balance.

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Hunts also will take place at some other Minnesota state parks and recreation areas this fall, and access to these areas will vary. Some will remain open to all visitors; some will have limited public access and some will be open only to hunters with special permits.

The deadlines have passed for youth and adults to apply for the permits to participate in the hunts.

For a list of state parks and recreation areas that are open, partially open or closed during the 2023 hunting season, visit mndnr.gov/parkhunts, contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or call 888-646-6367 (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sat.).

Details on which areas of each park affected by the special deer hunts can also be found in the “Visitor Alert” boxes on the individual park website pages at mndnr.gov.

Most Visited State Parks In Minnesota: Is Your Favorite in the List?

Minnesota has 75 beautiful state parks. The parks have an average of 9,700,000 visitors each year. Interestingly enough, nearly 19% of park visitors come from other states and countries, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Now, my favorite State Park is Jay Cooke in Carlton, MN, but it did not break into the top 5.

Gallery Credit: Shel B

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