Minnesota firearms hunters registered 128,174 deer through the third weekend of firearms deer season, up from 112,715 from the same period in 2014, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
So far this fall, hunters have registered 145,383 deer, up from the 2014 same-date harvest of 128,134, DNR officials said. That total includes the archery, early antlerless and firearms seasons, plus special hunts.
Preliminary numbers show that the number of deer registered has increased 13.5 percent from 2014.
Buck harvest during the firearms season was up 18.4 percent from last year, indicating that the population has grown from its low point two springs ago, DNR wildlife officials said.
The Zone 1 (including Northeastern Minnesota) total firearms harvest was up 11 percent. Zone 2 was up 15.5 percent, and Zone 3 was up 7.7 percent. Buck harvest was up significantly in all zones.
Going into the season, the DNR had projected the 2015 total deer harvest to be between 140,000 to 155,000 deer. The 2014 total harvest after last year’s conservative season was just over 139,000.
The Zone 1 firearms deer season ended Sunday. The muzzleloader season begins Saturday and will continue through Dec. 13. The archery season continues through Dec. 31.
Duluth hunter Clint Moen shot this partial-albino pheasant during a recent trip to North Dakota. The rooster had white pigmentation on its neck, body and wing feathers. Its legs and feet were yellowish instead of the usual gray. Albinism in birds is rare. It’s caused, according to researcher Krissy Bush, an avian researcher with the University of Alberta, by a mutation in a gene coding for a pigment-synthesizing enzyme. Albinism occurs in other birds and in mammals such as deer, too.
Tom Grove of Duluth sits in his deer stand on the final Saturday of Minnesota’s firearms deer season. (Guy Grove photo)
Tom Grove of Duluth sent along the photo above, taken by his son, Guy Grove of Champlin, Minn., on the final Saturday of Minnesota’s firearms deer season. The two were hunting near Saginaw. It seemed a fitting end-of-the-season photo. The photo was taken early Saturday morning, not long after Tom Grove had shot a buck from the stand. Guy Grove was coming over to help his dad with the buck, but he shot a few photos as he approached his dad’s stand.
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr announced today that entrance fees to all 76 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will be waived on Friday, Nov. 27, for “Free Park Friday,” encouraging Minnesotans to spend time outdoors, and with family, on the day after Thanksgiving.
A whitetail buck stands near a fence at 60th Avenue East and London Road on Friday afternoon. (Phillip Lockett photo)
Phillip Lockett of Saginaw sends along this photo a nice buck that he saw near 60th Avenue East and London Road this afternoon. This buck and a smaller buck were eyeing each other from opposite sides of a fence, Lockett said. He saw one of the bucks following a doe. This is the peak of the deer rut, or mating season, and bucks have shed much of their wariness as they pursue does for breeding.
Here’s a Lockett photo of the other buck, which was following a doe, he said. One side of his antlers apparently has been damaged.
Theresa Lawlor of Rice Lake Township shot this eight-point buck on Saturday, opening day of Minnesota’s firearms deer season. (Theresa Lawlor photo)
Despite prospects for a lean deer season in Minnesota, firearms deer license sales have been keeping pace with those of recent years, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Through Friday before Saturday’s opening day of hunting, just more than 419,000 licenses had been sold, DNR officials said. That’s up from about 393,000 at the same time last year and close to the average of 420,000 licenses sold for the same period over the past seven years.
Hannah Stonehouse Hudson of Bayfield, a professional photographer, took some very cool shots of fish ascending the Sioux River near Bayfield a few days ago. The fish were leaping and swimming up a set of falls in Big Rock Park, a Bayfield County park. The area is closed to fishing to protect the fish on their spawning runs. To see more of Stonehouse Hudson’s photography, including more photos from the Sioux River, visit her website here.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has unveiled a “sneak preview” of its new interactive deer map. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association had pushed the DNR to offer such an online map showing deer density, deer harvest and other information for all permit areas in a quick and easy to read format.
White-tailed deer in winter. (News Tribune file photo)
By clicking on the “detail report” for a specific deer permit area, the reader can gain access to harvest history, permit area designation and winter severity history. It also tells a hunter what type of land is in the permit area and how much public land is available.
The information is available in both desktop and mobile formats.
The DNR said it hopes hunters will discuss the new interactive map and offer feedback.