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Minnesota Hunters Register Nearly 69,000 Deer First Weekend

Minnesota deer hunters registered nearly 69,000 deer during the first weekend of the 2016 season. That’s a lot, but it’s still down from last year.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources indicates that deer hunters registered a total of 68, 958 whitetail deer during the first two days of this years firearms season.

Still, as impressive as that number is, the total is down 3 percent from last year’s opening weekend numbers. The percentage of bucks harvested also fell slightly, from 68 percent last year to 67 percent this year.

DNR big game program leader Adam Murkowski had this to say:

Even with record-high temperatures statewide, the opening weekend harvest in Zone 1 is at least 16 percent higher than last year. Since these are preliminary numbers, it’s too soon to say if the unusual weather had any impact on harvest elsewhere in the state, but as conditions change and hunting continues, we’ll get a better sense of how the season is progressing.

In addition the numbers for Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, other zones in the state were down. Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state, was down 7 percent and Zone 3, in southeastern Minnesota, was down significantly at 28 percent.

Still, the DNR project the total harvest to exceed last year’s figures. The 2015 harvest total was 159,000 deer. They predict this year’s to be between 165,000 and 185,000 animals.

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NEXT: Current Wisconsin Wolf Population More Than Double State Goal

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Minnesota Hunters Register Nearly 69,000 Deer First Weekend