Minnesotans interested in deer management can apply to serve on a new, statewide Deer Advisory Committee aimed at developing better communications between the public and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"We're following through on the commitment we made this past summer in our statewide deer management plan, which calls for us to form this committee," said Paul Telander, DNR wildlife section chief. "Committee members will play an important role in representing the breadth of deer management issues and discussing them with the DNR."

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The committee will be responsible for informing and advising the DNR about deer management issues, policies and programs. The DNR wildlife section chief will appoint members to the committee for three year terms, including representatives from hunting organizations; unaffiliated hunting interests; non-hunting deer management values; and interests including agriculture, forestry, conservation, environmental, public health, local governments and others. The DNR also will coordinate with tribal representatives and partner agencies with knowledge about deer issues.

Previously, the DNR worked with a 20-member Deer Management Plan Advisory Committee that provided input and gave recommendations that helped in forming the statewide deer management plan. That committee finished its work after release of the plan in July.

Anyone interested in serving on the new committee can apply by Feb. 8. For more information and to apply, go to mndnr.gov/deer or call 651-259-5204.

Looking for snow?

If you want snow on the ground for a winter activity then look north and east. Parts of Lake and Cook counties have 30 inches or more on the ground.

While parts of southeastern Minnesota, from the Twin Cities south, have little or no snow remaining, from Duluth north, there's at least a foot on the ground.

Parts of the Arrowhead region have seen more than 3 feet of new snow since Christmas, with Lutsen reporting 60 inches of snowfall already this winter season. Snowbanks along the Gunflint Trail are 4 feet high.

Go to dnr.state.mn.us/snow_depth for a weekly snow depth map.

United Northern fishing contest set for Jan. 27

The United Northern Sportsmens Club's annual Island lake ice fishing contest is set for Jan. 27.

The event, held on the lake out form the group's headquarters will run from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. with some big prizes, including a $2,000 door or gate prize and random prize drawings every 10

minutes during contest. First prize for largest fish is $1,000 with $500 for second and $250 for third, $125 for fourth and $75 for fit. There's also a trophy and $50 prize for the largest fish caught by a child under age 15.

Go to uns-duluth.com for more information. Tickets also are available from any UNS member and at local bait shops or call (218) 591-3304.

DNR names new big game leader

The Minnesota DNR has named Barbara Keller, a graduate of Northland College in Ashland, as the agency's new big game program supervisor overseeing deer, moose and elk in the state.

Keller begins her duties Feb. 1. She has more than 12 years of experience in wildlife management, research and diseases. Since 2016, she was the cervid program supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation, where she oversaw management of Missouri white-tailed deer and elk populations, including the chronic wasting disease program.

Keller also set statewide deer regulations and helped supervise the development of regulations for what will be the state's first elk hunting season.

The primary responsibilities of the big game program supervisor are to manage deer and elk populations and harvest seasons and to work with groups and individuals interested in big game management to address the expectations of a diverse public.

"I'm excited to join the DNR and get to work on all aspects of deer, elk and moose management," Keller said. "I'm especially looking forward to implementing the white-tailed deer management plan."

Keller received a bachelor of science degree in natural resource management at Northland, has a master's degree in wildlife science from New Mexico State University and a doctorate degree from the University of Missouri in wildlife science.

Her research includes studies on bighorn sheep behavior in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado; on bison, pronghorn, elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer populations in Custer State Park in South Dakota; and on a restored elk population in the Missouri Ozarks.

Keller enjoys deer and turkey hunting, hiking, paddling and fishing.

Keller takes over for Erik Thorson, who had accepted a temporary assignment to oversee the agency's while-tailed deer and other big game programs.