Minnesota firearms hunters registered 118,599 deer through the second weekend of firearms deer season, up from 104,785 from the same period in 2014, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“Hunters are seeing more deer this year as we continue to build deer populations across much of the state,” said Steve Merchant, 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.”
Final numbers from the first 10 days show that the number of deer registered rose 13 percent from 2014. 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.
Zone 1 total firearms harvest was up 14 percent, Zone 2 was up 17.5 percent and Zone 3 was up 7 percent. Buck harvest was up significantly in all zones.
The DNR is projecting 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.
In much of Minnesota, the last day of the firearms deer season was Sunday, Nov. 15. Additional deer will be harvested during the northern rifle zone season, which continues through Sunday, Nov. 22; the late southeastern season, which runs Saturday, Nov. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 29; and the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 28, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 13.
New this year, hunters can preview an interactive deer information tool being developed by the DNR at www.mndnr.gov/deermap.
This map is the first step toward launching an online application that delivers useful information hunters need and want. Hunters are encouraged to take a look at the application, discuss it and provide DNR with feedback.