ST. PAUL — Minnesota hunters registered 118,599 deer through the second weekend of firearms deer season, up 13 percent from 104,785 for the same period in 2014, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported Tuesday.
“Hunters are seeing more deer this year as we continue to build deer populations across much of the state,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife populations and regulations program manager. “We’ve again issued a conservative number of antlerless deer permits, and because of this, many hunters are seeing deer they can’t shoot. However, patience this year should translate to more harvest opportunities in the future.”
Mild weather for the season’s first 10 days also probably bumped up numbers after 2014’s cold, windy November kept more hunters indoors.
Buck harvest during the first 10 days of the firearms season was up 18 percent from last year, indicating that the population has in fact grown from its low point two springs ago.
In 100-series units, which include all of Northeastern Minnesota, total firearms harvest was up 14 percent; it was up 17.5 percent in 200-series units and up 7 percent in 300-series units. Buck harvest was up significantly in all units.
The season in Northeastern Minnesota continues through Sunday.
The DNR is projecting the 2015 total deer harvest to be between 140,000 to 155,000 deer. The 2014 total harvest was just over 139,000.