Whitetail kill trails last year’s harvest
St. Paul — Hunters during the first part of the firearms season killed about 134,000 whitetails, which is about 6 percent below what they had killed at the same time last year.
That figure includes what was killed during the season in the 200 series of permit areas, 3A, and a portion of the season in the 100 series of permit areas.
Updated harvest numbers that included the final days of the 100 series season and the opening days of the 3B season weren’t available before this edition of Outdoor News went to press on Tuesday afternoon.
As of the middle of last week, the buck kill in the 100 series of permit areas was about on par with last year, while the antlerless deer harvest was down about 28 percent.
In the 200 series of permit areas, the buck harvest was up about 10 percent from last year, while the doe harvest was down about 21 percent.
The buck harvest also has been strong in the 300 series of permit areas, where hunters have to pass on the vast majority of yearling bucks. For the 3A season, the buck harvest was up 8 percent, while the doe harvest was down 15 percent. The number of hunters in the 3A season also increased by about 900 from last year.
Deer license sales were up from last year. Through Monday of this week, hunters had purchased 474,751. At the same time last year, they had purchased 465,831.
Following are reports from state conservation officers:
- Hunters in the Baudette area continued to report a slow deer season.
- Hunting was slow in the Tower area. Some hunters believe deer populations are lower, while others believe warm weather limited movement.
- Hunters encountered spotty success in the Mora area. Hunters who stayed in the woods found deer moving.
- It was a busy opening weekend to the 3B season in the Wabasha area, and hunters relayed many positive comments about antler-point restrictions. They reported seeing more mature bucks.
Muzzleloader season begins
Saturday marks the beginning of the muzzleloader season, which runs through Dec. 9. In recent years, the DNR has sold 60,000 muzzleloader licenses annually.
The high-water mark for muzzleloader harvest was in 2005, when hunters killed 15,421 whitetails during the season. The kill has been on a general decline since then, and muzzleloader hunters last year killed 7,416 deer. That was the fewest since 2002, when they killed 3,505.