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Minnesota hunters bag more deer during opening weekend than in 2014

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Hunters had a banner first weekend of the firearms deer season in Minnesota, registering 68,401 deer over three days.

The Minnesota DNR reports that the number of deer registered this opening weekend was a 6.3 percent rise from 2014, saying this is in part due to the deer conservation tactics it has employed in recent years.

Restrictions are slightly looser this year than last year, but there is still a one-deer limit in place across most of the state as well as an almost blanket ban on antlerless deer hunting.

"Hunters are seeing more deer this year as we continue to build deer populations across much of the state," DNR wildlife populations manager Steve Merchant said.

"We've issued a conservative number of antlerless deer permits, and because of this, many hunters are seeing deer they can’t shoot," he added. "However, patience this year should translate to more harvest opportunities in the future."

Last year, 139,000 deer were bagged by hunters in total, with the DNR projecting a rise to between 140,000 and 155,000 this year.

On the opening weekend, the number of bucks killed rose by 8.5 percent over last year.

The firearms season will end this weekend for much of Minnesota, with this Sunday being the last day for hunting zones 2a and 3a, although it will continue one extra week in zone 1a in the northern part of the state.

Muzzleloader season will then take place between Nov. 28 and Dec. 13, while the late southeastern season will run between Nov. 21-29.

Archery season continues until Dec. 31. More information can be found on this DNR page.

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