Firearms hunters registered 161,057 deer through the third weekend of deer season, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Preliminary results through the third weekend show that the number of deer registered was up 16 percent from 2016. Of the deer harvested, 53 percent were bucks, compared to 63 percent during the same period in 2016.
In Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, total firearms harvest was up 36 percent. In Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state and runs from Canada to Iowa, harvest was up 10 percent and Zone 3, in southeastern Minnesota, was down 5 percent.
“The conditions were generally good for hunters participating in the last week of the Zone 1 season and for the start of the 3B season in the southeast,” said Erik Thorson, acting big game program leader, “which provided a boost to the statewide firearms harvest.”
Based upon the number of antlerless permits available and the number of permit areas that allow multiple deer to be taken, the DNR is projecting the 2017 total deer harvest to be around 200,000. The 2016 total harvest was 173,213 and to date firearms and archery hunters have harvested about 180,000 deer this year.
In much of Minnesota, the firearms deer season ended Nov. 12, and the northern rifle zone season ended Nov. 19. The late southeast firearms deer season was open through Nov. 26. The muzzleloader season began Nov. 25, and continues through Dec. 10.