There are many proud traditions that happen during the Minnesota firearms deer hunting season. Many of those traditions are complete with the harvest of a deer. Opening weekend weather, which drives much of the statewide deer harvest, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), was nearly ideal with clear skies, cool temperatures and a near total crop harvest.
Minnesota hunters harvested 151,400 deer so far during the 2012 early firearm season according to preliminary numbers announced by the DNR. The late 3B season in southeastern Minnesota remained open through Sunday, Nov. 25.
The deer harvest number is calculated using data provided by hunters when they register a deer. A final report, which includes more detailed harvest information, will be available on the DNR website at the end of January.
“The increase in buck harvest and decrease in antlerless deer harvest is a reflection of slightly higher deer populations statewide, yet a more conservative harvest philosophy this year,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “What drives total harvest is how we manage antlerless deer.”
This year, DNR increased the number of lottery areas where hunters could only take an antlerless deer by permit. Overall, antlered buck harvest increased 9 percent and antlerless deer harvest decreased 21 percent compared to 2011. In total, firearm harvest was off seven percent, which was expected given the conservation allocation of antlerless deer permits.
Ample hunting opportunities remain as the statewide muzzleloader season runs from Saturday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Dec. 9. The archery season closes on Monday, Dec. 31.