The deer harvest for the 2017 gun season in Minnesota increased over the numbers in 2016. For many Minnesota hunters, 2017 was another successful season.
The week prior - the second weekend of the season - 145,054 deer were registered, a 10 percent increase over 2016 numbers.
Most of the Minnesota firearms deer season has ended now, but there it is still open season for muzzleloader hunters until December 10.
Of the deer registered this year, 53 percent were bucks, which is 10 percent fewer bucks than during the same period last year.
To date, both gun and archery hunters have registered 180,000 deer this year. That's around 7,000 more than last year's final tally of 173,213. The Minnesota DNR expects the final 2017 deer harvest total - both gun and archery - to be close to 200,000 animals. This estimate takes into consideration the number of antlerless permits available and the number of permit areas that allow multiple deer to be harvested.
Archery deer season runs through December 31.
Big game program leader Erik Thorson indicated that hunting conditions were good enough during the last week of the Zone 1 season to give the statewide harvest numbers a boost.
Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, saw a 36 percent harvest increase over last year's numbers.
The total statewide deer harvest has been rising each year since 2014.
This year's Minnesota bear season was also a success, with the black bear harvest total up as well.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.