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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Deer harvest down 3 percent from a year ago

Hunters register 68,958 deer during first weekend of season.

Minnesota firearms hunters registered 68,958 deer during the first two days of firearms deer season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Preliminary numbers from opening weekend show that the number of deer registered fell 3 percent from 2015. Of the deer harvested, 67 percent were bucks, compared to 68 percent of the first weekend harvest of 2015.

In Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, total firearms harvest was up 16 percent. In Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state and runs from Canada to Iowa, harvest was down 7 percent and Zone 3, in southeastern Minnesota, was down 28 percent.

"Even with record-high temperatures statewide, the opening weekend harvest in Zone 1 is at least 16 percent higher than last year," said DNR big game program leader Adam Murkowski. "Since these are preliminary numbers, it's too soon to say if the unusual weather had any impact on harvest elsewhere in the state, but as conditions change and hunting continues, we'll get a better sense of how the season is progressing."

Based upon the number of antlerless permits available and the number of permit areas that allow multiple deer to be taken, the DNR is projecting the 2016 total deer harvest to be between 165,000 and 185,000 deer. The 2015 total harvest was a little more than 159,000.

In much of Minnesota, the deer season continues through Sunday, Nov. 13. Additional deer will be harvested during the northern rifle zone season, which continues through Sunday, Nov. 20; the late southeastern season, which runs Saturday, Nov. 19, through Sunday, Nov. 27; and the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 26, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 11.

The DNR strives to maintain a healthy wild deer population that offers recreational and economic opportunities, while addressing conflicts between deer, people and other natural resources. Habitat management, hunting, research and monitoring are several primary tools used to manage the Minnesota deer population. More information on deer management can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

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