Early Deer Harvest Up 16 Percent In NE Minnesota

Dave DeLawyer of Deer River shot this nice buck on Saturday, opening day of Minnesota’s firearms deer season. He was hunting north of Deer River. Dave DeLawyer photo

Through the first weekend of Minnesota’s firearms deer season, the deer harvest was up 16 percent from last year in Northeastern Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials said Tuesday.

That was the only portion of the state where registrations increased. In Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state, harvest was down 5 percent. In Zone 3, southeastern Minnesota, registrations were down 20 percent.

The state’s firearms deer season opened Saturday and continues through Nov. 19 in Northeastern Minnesota.

Preliminary numbers from opening weekend showed that, overall, the number of deer registered was essentially the same as from 2016. Of the deer harvested, 57 percent were bucks, compared to 67 percent of the first weekend harvest of 2016.

The DNR is projecting this fall’s total deer harvest to be around 200,000. The 2016 total harvest was 173,213.

Through opening weekend, the DNR had sold nearly 416,000 deer licenses, down about 2 percent from last year’s sales of 425,424 licenses by the same date.