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Minnesota's deer population management program will be audited this year by the state's Legislative Auditor — a move pushed by some deer hunters critical of the Department of Natural Resources deer management.

The Legislative Audit Commission, a bipartisan commission with six members from the House and six from the Senate, selected deer management as one of seven evaluations to be done in 2015. Hunters have complained about low deer harvest in recent years, and have questioned the DNR's population estimates and goal-setting methods.

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and the Minnesota Bowhunters Inc. are among those who have criticized the DNR's deer population goal-setting process. Possible issues the Legislative Auditor will examine: How the DNR estimates and monitors the deer population and how it establishes deer population goals — and how those methods compare with other approaches. The Legislative Auditor also might examine to what extent the DNR's deer population goals reflect a balance between stakeholder interests.

Doug Smith