Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Deer Harvest Down

Minnesota's firearms deer harvest is down 11.6 percent from 2008 but
on track with expectations, according to the Department of Natural

Since the season opened Nov. 7, preliminary results show that hunters
have harvested 151,000 animals, 20,000 fewer than last year following
the third weekend of hunting. The decrease reflects fewer opportunities
for hunters to harvest antlerless deer in about half of the state's
deer management areas.

"The strategy for 2009 is to allow deer populations to build and
stabilize by reducing opportunities to take antlerless deer," said Lou
Cornicelli, DNR big game coordinator. "We expect hunters to harvest
about 200,000 deer, or one-fifth of the state’s wild deer population.
We’re on track to do just that once the final numbers are in and
counted for all deer seasons."

Hunters have harvested about 19,000 fewer antlerless deer than last
year, accounting for the majority of the decline. Harvest of bucks is
only about 1,200 animals behind last year. Hunter numbers are nearly
identical to last year.

"The harvest of bucks is the most stable indicator of deer
population," Cornicelli said. "Nearly the same number of bucks has
been harvested, which suggests that deer are still there to be taken.
Since fewer hunters have the option of harvesting an antlerless deer,
the overall numbers have decreased."

Cornicelli said hunters also have been especially cooperative in the
DNR’s efforts to sample deer for Chronic Wasting Disease in southeastern Minnesota and Bovine Tuberculosis in northwestern Minnesota.

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