Minnesota deer harvest tops 180,000

That's down about 7 percent from last year. The DNR says the decline is due to the cold, windy weather during the opener weekend. Across the river, our neighbors to the east are exactly opposite -- they're up nearly 6 percent -- bagging more than 112,000 in their first weekend.
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That's down about 7 percent from last year. The DNR says the decline is due to the cold, windy weather during the opener weekend. Across the river, our neighbors to the east are exactly opposite -- they're up nearly 6 percent -- bagging more than 112,000 in their first weekend.

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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.

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The DNR says hunters have harvested 143,000 deer so far this season, down only 7 percent from the same point last year.

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Warm, dry weather has allowed farmers plenty of time in the fields. Sugar beets are now 95 percent harvested, corn 79 percent.

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The DNR says so far this year, four people have died in hunting-related accidents -- compared to two deaths overall last year. Officials say most injuries stem from falling from deer stands.

Minnesota hunters expected to see more deer, harvest less this year

Hunters in Minnesota are expected to see more deer than last year after the mild winter and early spring, but fewer hunters have antlerless deer tags this fall, the Duluth News Tribune reports. This is because the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is trying to conserve the number of does this year. “We’re going to see more deer and kill less deer,” Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association based in Grand Rapids, told the newspaper.