Firearms Deer Harvest Third Highest on Record
Despite the unusually warm weather that dominated this year's deer season, the 2001 MInnesota firearms deer harvest was the third highest on record, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Hunters harvested 200,100 deer statewide, an increase of 8,500 deer (4 percent) compared with the very successful 2000 season.
The higher harvest was expected, although preseason expectations were even higher, said Steve Merchant, DNR Forest Wildlife Program leader. He attributed the harvest increase to more antlerless permits offered by the DNR, but said the unusually warm weather throughout the season may have hampered achieving an even larger deer harvest.
The harvest by region was: Northwest Region: 62,800, up nearly 15 percent Northeast Region: 31,437, up about 5 percent Central Region: 64,804, up about 3 percent Southwest Region:17,671, nearly unchanged Southeast Region: 19,200, down nearly 15 percent Twin Cities Metro Region: 4,200, nearly unchanged
Warm weather likely contributed to the somewhat disappointing harvest in southern Minnesota. "Most hunters I talked with agreed that the deer were out there, but the weather was not favorable for deer movement or hunter activity. It was just too warm," Merchant said.
This year's firearms deer harvest total is exceeded only by harvests in 1991 when 206,275 deer were taken and 1992 when 229,236 deer were taken during the firearms season.
Minnesota's archery deer season continues through Dec. 31. The DNR will issue a final deer harvest report on its Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us later this winter.