It's official - deer harvest was down

The Department of Natural Resources has made official what most deer hunters knew all along — the past hunting season was mediocre.

The official total was 192,300 deer, a drop of 7 percent from the 207,000 harvested in 2010. Firearms hunters registered 164,800 deer, while archery and muzzleloader hunters came in with 20,200 and 7,300 deer, respectively. Statewide, the archery and firearm harvests were down 6 percent while the muzzleloader harvest declined 19 percent from last year.

A big cause of the lower kill was the wind, according to the DNR. Up to half the harvest typically occurs during the first weekend of the firearms season, and this year, winds were so strong that many deer just hunkered down. Also, there were fewer deer in some areas because of regulations  in previous years designed to bring down numbers, and because of the harsh winter of 2010-2011; such winters are especially hard on herds in the north.

Now that many areas are at the established goal levels, there is a general dissatisfaction among hunters with the current deer population, according to the DNR. Because of that, the department will begin reassessing deer population goals. It may take several months but should be done in time for the fall hunt.

That could change which areas are lottery for either-sex permits.


A final report with more detailed harvest information will be available online at in the coming weeks.

Local MDHA chapter honored:The Southeast chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has received a Hunting Heritage Legacy Award at the Wall Hanger Buck Award level.

The chapter, centered in the Rochester area, was honored for working to get more hunters into the sport through things like Forkhorn Youth Summer Camps, helping with firearms safety classes and donating to youth programs.

It gets much of its money from its annual fund raiser dinner that will be Feb. 11 this year. For more information about the dinner, call Dave Peterson at (507) 365-8875.

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