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Hunters bag more than 145K deer after a more fruitful firearms season

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Minnesota hunters are on course to bag 155,000 deer this hunting season, well ahead of last year's numbers.

Following the weekend – which was the final one for firearms hunting season in the north of the state (the rest of the state's season ended Nov. 15) – hunters had registered 128,174 deer with the Minnesota DNR.

When deer killed during special hunts, archery and early antlerless seasons were taken into account, the total number of deer harvested this year has reached 145,383 – a 13.5 percent rise on the 128,134 bagged at the same time last year.

The DNR had been projecting a total deer harvest of between 140,000 and 155,000 deer this season, and it looks like the final total will be at the upper end of its estimates.

That's because there is still some of the season left, with the late southeastern season still to finish this weekend, the muzzleloader season starting Saturday and running to Dec. 13, and the archery season continuing until Dec. 31.

Last year's total harvest was 139,000 deer, lower than in previous years thanks to a one-deer limit across much of the state implemented by the DNR boost the deer population.

Limits are still in place but are less strict this year, leading to the higher kill count. The final figures for the 2014 season will be released in January.

The Star Tribune reports that the deer harvest during the firearms opener in Wisconsin this past weekend was well up on last year's, with 119,495 killed compared to 103,428 in last year's opener.

Someone who didn't bag a buck, or any deer for that matter, was Gov. Scott Walker, who came up short on his hunting trips, according to the Associated Press.

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