Deer Season Off to a Good Start

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

The 2003 Minnesota firearms deer season opened at a pace that could eclipse last year's harvest of 222,000 and become one of the top three firearms deer seasons in history, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today.

Using comparable data from registration stations piloting electronic registration of deer, harvest during the opening weekend was up about 25 percent over last year's opening weekend registration at those same stations, according to Lou Cornicelli, big game coordinator for the DNR section of wildlife.

This year's preliminary harvest report was generated using data obtained through a pilot project via the Electronic License System (ELS). The data are comparable to 2002 data, also collected through ELS. In previous years, preliminary deer harvest numbers were generated through a telephone survey of selected registration stations and may not be comparable to this year’s data.

Additionally, Cornicelli said efforts to increase the harvest of antlerless deer appear to be working. So far, 51 percent of registered deer were antlerless compared to 38 percent at the same stations at this time last year.

"With the ability to purchase an either-sex license over the counter and to purchase additional antlerless deer licenses in many of the state’s deer permit areas, the objective was to shift overall harvest toward more females," Cornicelli said. "This should help manage the overall deer population, reduce the number of yearling bucks in the harvest, and increase overall buck survival."

Final harvest numbers for 2003 will include the total number of deer registered manually and through ELS. An estimate of total firearms deer harvest will be available in December.