From Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
-- Minnesota hunters harvested slightly more than 260,000 deer during 2007, the fourth-highest deer harvest ever recorded, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Before 2003, Minnesota hunters never had killed 250,000 deer in any one season. But during the last five years, he said, total deer harvest exceeded 250,000 each year.
With nearly 500,000 deer hunters enjoying long seasons and liberal bag limits, DNR officials anticipated a strong 2007 deer harvest. In total, firearms hunters harvested 224,250 deer while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 24,200 and 12,000 deer respectively. During the early antlerless season, which was expanded to 23 areas in 2007, hunters tagged 7,166 deer.
Overall, the statewide firearms harvest was down 2 percent, archery was 4 percent lower and muzzleloader harvest decreased 11 percent from 2006. Cornicelli said the declines likely were caused by management changes that reduced the number of deer that could be taken in some areas.
"Last year, the DNR finished a public process of setting deer population goals," Cornicelli said. "Consequently, the DNR lowered bag limits and restricted what all-season hunters could harvest."
The DNR's goal is to manage for established objectives, which means annual adjustments to the number of deer an individual hunter can take in each permit area.
Final deer harvest numbers are computed using information provided by hunters when they register harvested deer. A final report, which includes more detailed harvest information, will be available online at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer in the coming weeks.
For the 2008 season, the deadline for the either-sex permit application is Thursday, Sept. 4. Archery deer hunting will begin Sept. 13. The early antlerless deer season will be the weekend of Oct. 11-12. The statewide firearms deer hunting season will open on Nov. 8. The muzzleloader season will open Nov. 29.
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