Minnesota firearms hunters registered 128,174 deer through the third weekend of firearms deer season, up from 112,715 from the same period in 2014, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
So far this year during special hunts and the archery, early antlerless and firearms seasons, hunters have harvested 145,383 deer, up from the 2014 to-date harvest total of 128,134. Preliminary numbers show that the number of deer registered rose 13.5 percent from 2014.
Buck harvest during the firearms season was up 18.4 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 11 percent, Zone 2 was up 15.5 percent and Zone 3 was up 7.7 percent. Buck harvest was up significantly in all zones.
The DNR has projected 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 Nov. 15. The northern rifle zone season continued through Nov. 22. Additional deer will be harvested during the late southeastern season, which runs Saturday, Nov. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 29; the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 28, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 13; and the archery season, which runs through Thursday, Dec. 31.
Final numbers from all deer seasons will be available in January.
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 the DNR with feedback.
More information on deer management can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deer.