Firearms deer harvest down
The 2013 Minnesota deer hunting season has come to a close.
The season ended November 17 for all but 100-series permit areas in the northeastern part of the state, where the season concluded November 24. A late 3B firearm season in southeastern Minnesota began November 23 and runs through December 1.
Firearm harvest at the conclusion of the November 17 season is down 6 percent from last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Overall, antlered buck harvest is down 7 percent and antlerless harvest is down 5 percent.
“Based on our population estimates, the decrease in buck harvest was not anticipated and may reflect hunting conditions more than population,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “Based on preliminary numbers, our opening andsecond weekend harvest from Saturday to Monday were down 4 and 13 percent, respectively, and we experienced windy conditions the first weekend and both wind and rain the second weekend.”
Weekend harvests, particularly opening weekend, drive total harvest numbers. McInenly stressed these numbers are preliminary.
Much of the change in statewide antlerless harvest can be attributed to decreased harvest in the northeastern portion of the state, where preliminary antlerless harvest numbers are down 25 percent.
Much of northern Minnesota experienced an extended, moderate-to-severe 2012-13 winter, likely impacting overwinter survival and fawn numbers this summer.
In response, the DNR reduced bag limits and the number of either-sex permits available in many northern permit areas.
Also, antlerless harvest continues to be reduced around the former bovine tuberculosis management zone in far northwestern Minnesota to allow the deer population in that area to rebuild.
Ample hunting opportunities remain. In addition to the late firearms season in southeastern Minnesota, the statewide muzzleloader season runs November 30 through December 15. The archery season closes December 31.
Deer must be registered online, via telephone or through an in-person visit to a big game registration station within 48 hours of harvest. Visit www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.