MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fewer deer were harvested in the 2011 hunting season.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, hunters gathered 192,300 deer during the 2011 season, dropping 7 percent from 2010 when 207,000 deer were harvested.
The DNR blames lower deer populations and a windy first weekend for the drop.
“Upwards of 50 percent of the annual deer harvest occurs during opening weekend,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “The high winds hunters experienced opening weekend hindered deer activity and the associated harvest.”
In 2011, firearms hunters harvested 164,800 deer, while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 20,200 and 7,300 deer, respectively. Overall, the statewide archery and firearm harvest was down 6 percent for both seasons and the muzzleloader harvest declined 19 percent from last year.
The DNR said deer numbers were down because of the harsh winter in 2010 and hunting regulations designed to bring populations to goal levels.
Now that goals have been met in certain areas, many hunters aren’t happy with the deer population. As a result, the DNR said they will develop a process in the near future to reassess deer population goals and hope to begin making adjustments in time for the 2012 season.
Cornicelli said hunters should pay close attention to the hunting synopsis, which comes out in mid-July, to see if they need to apply for a lottery either-sex permit. The deadline for the either-sex permit application is Sept. 6 for the 2012 season.
Archery deer hunting will start Sept. 15 and the statewide firearms deer hunting season will open on Nov. 3. The muzzleloader season begins Nov. 24.
Final deer harvest and information will be available online at DNR Website in the coming weeks.