DNR: Deer harvest down 8 percent in first 3 days of firearms season

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says just over 77,000 deer were harvested by hunters across the state in the first three days of the firearms season, down 8 percent during the same period a year ago, The Associated Press reports.

The DNR says winds of up to 30 mph and unharvested corn – which gave deer more places to hide – contributed to the lower take by hunters.

The Star Tribune says wind conditions affect hunting because stronger gusts prompt deer to bed down.

The northeast part of the state had the biggest drop in comparison to last year's harvest, where hunters took 19 percent fewer deer.

The Duluth News Tribune says the area was especially hit hard by brisk northwest winds Saturday afternoon.

Despite the slow start, DNR officials believe the final take will be about 185,000 deer, the same amount as last year.

Roughly 500,000 Minnesotans – about 1 in 8 people of hunting age in the state – will join the 2013 deer rifle hunting season.

The state's early season deer hunt for firearms ends Sunday. The late season hunt for firearms begins Nov. 23 and ends Dec. 1.

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DNR: Deer harvest down seven percent in 2011

The Department of Natural Resources says the decline is a result of a smaller deer population and a windy opening weekend of the firearms season. Minnesota deer hunters harvested 192,300 deer during the 2011 season. That's 15,000 fewer deer than in 2010. The 2012 deer hunting season begins in September.