After the first three days of the Minnesota firearms deer season opener, harvest numbers are down. According to numbers released by the Minnesota DNR, they have dropped from 29,747 in 2012 to 23,960 in 2013 in the 100 series permit area. The difference is a decrease of about 19.5 percent.
Christian Balzer, an area wildlife manager in Cloquet, Minn., described the 100 series permit areas as, "roughly northeast of a line connecting Pine City and Roseau."
Keep in mind, this is only comparing the first three days of the firearms deer hunt.
Balzer said some potential reasons for a decline in the early harvest are:
- Weather that caused rough hunting conditions. It was cold and windy, so hunters may not have been able to spend as long of periods in their tree stands. Also, deer generally do not move as well in windy conditions.
- Deer populations are lower than they have been in recent years.
- With lower deer populations, antler-less permit distribution was more conservative this year. Since the DNR decided to reduce antler-less deer permits, they expected a decrease in harvest numbers. This is a management strategy to help stabilize and rebuild the population.
In the other permit areas, there was not as significant of a decline, with only a 6.9 percent decrease in the 200 series permit areas, and a 5.0 percent decrease in the 300 series permit areas.
Here is a link to a map of the different permit zones.