Two consecutive mild winters coupled with past conservative harvest strategies have allowed deer numbers to increase throughout southwestern Minnesota. Wildlife managers reported good fawn production, so more antlerless permits were provided for this fall’s hunting season. However, permits numbers continue to be low in select permit areas, mostly in extreme southwest, due to the loss of Conservation Reserve Program acres. Managers in these permit areas are having a difficult time increasing deer numbers due to limited habitat availability. Conversely, hunters need to be aware that permit areas 281 and 290 moved to a hunters choice designation for the first time due to an abundance of deer along the Minnesota River corridor. Two wild cards for hunters will be the amount of standing crops and river flooding. Large rainfall amounts in mid-October have resulted in flooded fields and river flooding. Crop harvest is behind schedule but this can change very quickly so it is too early to predict what amount of crops will be in the field, if any, before opening day. However, hunters should prepare for high water in select river corridors; the high water can influence deer use of these habitats. Many deer have been forced out of the river valleys into the surrounding uplands.