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MN 2012 deer harvest declines 4 percent

From Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

-- Minnesota hunters harvested 184,649 deer during the 2012 season, down 4 percent from the previous year.

The decline reflects the fact that hunters had fewer chances to harvest antlerless deer because the 2012 season was designed to help stabilize and increase populations. According to Leslie McInenly, big game program leader, the reduction in harvest number was expected.

Firearms hunters harvested 155,599 deer while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 21,556 and 7,494 deer, respectively. The statewide archery harvest was up 5 percent, muzzleloader harvest increased 1 percent and firearm harvest was down 5 percent from last year.

The DNR aerial surveys conducted over portions of the state later this winter, coupled with population modeling and select aerial surveys, will be used to determine deer density. Management designations for 2013 deer permit areas will be determined once the new density estimates are compared to established population goals.

The final deer harvest number is calculated using information provided by hunters when they register their deer. A final report, which includes more detailed harvest information, will be available online in the coming weeks at

For the 2013 season, the deadline for the either-sex permit application is Sept. 5. Archery deer hunting begins, Sept. 14. Firearms deer season opens Nov. 9, and muzzleloader season opens Nov. 30.