Preliminary 2012 firearm deer harvest numbers released
Minnesota hunters harvested 151,400 deer so far during the 2012 early firearm season, according to preliminary numbers announced by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Overall, antlered buck harvest increased 9 percent and antlerless deer harvest decreased 21 percent compared to 2011. In total, firearm harvest was off 7 percent, which was expected given the conservative allocation of antlerless deer permits.
"The increase in buck harvest and decrease in antlerless deer harvest is a reflection of slightly higher deer populations statewide, yet a more conservative harvest philosophy this year," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. "What drives total harvest is how we manage antlerless deer."
This year, DNR increased the number of lottery areas where hunters could only take an antlerless deer by permit.
Opening weekend weather, which drives much of the statewide deer harvest, was nearly ideal with clear skies, cool temperatures, and a near total crop harvest.
The deer harvest number is calculated using data provided by hunters when they register a deer. A final report, which includes more detailed harvest information, will be available