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Minnesota deer hunt reaps 151K so far, down 7 percent


The Department of Natural Resources says Minnesota hunters killed 151,400 deer during the 2012 early firearm season, the Alexandria Echo Press reports. That's down 7 percent from last year, the newspaper reports. Hunters harvested 9 percent more antlered bucks than in 2011, but 21 percent fewer antlerless deer.

Fewer antlerless permits were issued this year, the DNR says in a press release. “The increase in buck harvest and decrease in antlerless deer harvest is a reflection of slightly higher deer populations statewide, yet a more conservative harvest philosophy this year,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “What drives total harvest is how we manage antlerless deer.”

There's more hunting ahead. The firearms season in a zone in southeastern Minnesota remains open through Nov. 25. The statewide muzzleloader season is Nov. 24 through Dec. 9, and the archery season closes on Dec. 31.

There's more info on the DNR's deer hunting webpage.

A number of tales of young hunters emerged from the season. Patch has the story of a 16-year-old with Down syndrome who killed his first deer this year. A Brainerd boy bagged a 27-point buck. And the Pioneer Press reports on a 17-year-old Minnesota hunter whose kill was devoured by wolves before she could get to it.

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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.