Minnesota hunters harvested 77,008 deer during the first three days of the firearms season, down 8 percent from 2012, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader, said a slightly smaller harvest over the first three days is not surprising.
“Last year, opening weekend weather was almost ideal and the state’s corn harvest was virtually complete, she said. “So given Saturday’s roaring winds of up to 30 miles per hour, which tends to restrict deer movement, and more available deer refuge areas due to pockets of standing corn, the harvest is about what you’d expect.” In some areas, she said, about a quarter of the corn crop was not yet harvested.
The DNR had sold 445,385 firearms deer licenses as of Monday, about 1,000 fewer than last year but roughly 10,000 more than 2011.
Around the state, opening day hunting conditions included snow in the north and gusty winds and overcast skies most everywhere, turning nicer on Sunday. The harvest was down 19 percent in the northeast, 4 percent in the southeast and 6 percent for the remainder of the state. Because hunters have 48 hours to register a harvested deer, final opening weekend numbers for 2013 will be greater than those reported today.
With improving weather conditions this week, the DNR still expects the final 2013 harvest to be similar to last year when about 185,000 deer were taken.
The firearms season continues through Sunday for all but northeast Minnesota, which extends until Nov. 24. There is also a late southeast firearms season that runs Nov. 23-Dec. 1.
The DNR reminds hunters who harvest a deer to tag it at the kill site. Also, new this year, hunters are required to register their deer within 48 hours after harvest and before processing.