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Deer harvest in Minnesota falls 31,000 as restrictions bite

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The total number of deer killed at the end of this year's firearms season is down 31,000 compared to 2013, state figures show.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has revealed that hunters had registered 111,000 deer by the end of the third and final weekend of firearms hunting season.

Overall, 127,000 deer have been registered this year, which includes special hunts and archery season, and earlier antlerless and firearms seasons, down from 160,000 in 2013, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

This year's harvest was expected to be lower, the News Tribune reports, because the DNR had put in place tighter restrictions on the number of deers allowed to be killed in a bid to boost the population across the state.

Numbers were depleted after a big harvest last year and an extreme winter.

Although the season is over for much of the state, the DNR says the late southeastern season will run until this Sunday, and the muzzleloader season gets underway this Saturday and continues until December 14.

Restrictions have made the season more competitive, but it got ultra-competitive in Wisconsin, where a coin flip had to decide who would keep a deer shot on private land.

In spite of the smaller deer harvest, the Star Tribune reports a central Minnesota meat market has been kept busy in November.

McDonald's Meats, in Clear Lake, told the newspaper it had to suspend much of the beef and hog processing in the two weeks after the firearms hunting opener, during which time it processed around 450 deer and took on an extra five staff to cope with the demand.

Coin flip to decide who keeps deer

Kameron Jorgenson, 11, wounded a nine-point buck in the town of Oneida, and chased it when it took off through the woods, according to FOX11.

It ended up straying onto the property of Randy Heyrman, who promptly shot it twice from a deer stand, killing it, the station reports.

To settle who got to keep the buck, they flipped a coin. Heyrman guessed right and kept the buck, and all the 11-year-old got as a memento was a picture with the dead animal.

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