ST. PAUL -- Minnesota firearms hunters registered 70,724 deer during the first two days of deer season -- about the same as last year, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Of the deer harvested, 57 percent were bucks, compared to 67 percent of the first weekend harvest of 2016.
In Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, total firearms harvest was up 16 percent. In Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state and runs from Canada to Iowa, harvest was down 5 percent and Zone 3, in southeastern Minnesota, was down 20 percent.
“We expected to see an increased harvest this year, and that appears to be so in Zone 1. In the other zones where the first weekend harvest is off, it could be that the amount of standing corn negatively affected deer harvest,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager. “If that is the case, we should see improved deer harvest as more corn is harvested.”
The DNR is projecting the 2017 total deer harvest to be around 200,000. The 2016 total harvest was 173,213.
In much of Minnesota, the deer season continues through Sunday, Nov. 12. Additional deer will be harvested during the northern rifle zone season, which continues through Sunday, Nov. 19; the late southeast season, which runs Saturday, Nov. 18, through Sunday, Nov. 26; and the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 25, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 10.