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Minnesota's opening firearm weekend show slight harvest increase

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

-- Minnesota reports firearm hunters harvested and registered 85,163 deer Nov. 6 and 7, up slightly from last year's 85,074.

The early numbers suggest the overall harvest will be higher than last year, when hunters took about 195,000 deer. Deer hunter numbers are also up this year.

"Statewide, we're off to a good start," said Lou Cornicelli, big game coordinator. "But as always, we will see significant regional variability in deer population."

Cornicelli said the new online and toll free phone deer registration options make it difficult to make precise comparisons between this year's harvest and last year's harvest. Unlike previous years, when hunters took their deer to registration stations, 54 percent of this year's successful hunters registered their deer by computer or phone.

As of Nov. 8, the DNR had issued 431,268 firearms licenses, up from 423,883 last year. Youth licenses accounted for a portion of the increase, including an increase in licenses for 10- and 11-year-old deer hunters.

Hunters in southeastern Minnesota, where a new antler point restriction regulation went into effect, harvested fewer bucks and more antlerless deer. Buck harvest was down 28 percent and antlerless harvest was up 23 percent.

The regular firearms season continues through Nov. 14 for most of the state, and through Nov. 21 in northeastern Minnesota. The late southeast firearms season is Nov. 20 to 28.

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