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Firearms deer harvest up 36 percent in NE Minnesota

Two white-tailed deer look for food along St. Louis County Highway 7 near Forbes in 2013. (Clint Austin /

Minnesota’s firearms deer hunters in Zone 1 (Northeastern Minnesota) registered 36 percent more deer than last year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Monday. Regular firearms hunters shot 57,018 deer deer in Zone 1 this fall, compared to 41,894 last fall.

Elsewhere in the state, the firearms harvest was up 10 percent in Zone 2, which covers much of the state, and down 6 percent in Zone 3 (southeastern Minnesota).

Minnesota’s firearms deer season opened Nov. 4 and closed Nov. 19 in Zone 1. All figures are preliminary totals.

Most of the increased harvest in the northeast was due to an increase in the taking of antlerless deer. In nine deer permit areas that cover much of Northeastern Minnesota, the buck harvest was down 3 percent this year compared to last year. The antlerless deer harvest was up 168 percent in those permit areas (117, 118, 119, 130, 131, 132, 176, 177, 178), said Tom Rusch, DNR area wildlife manager at Tower.

Statewide, the buck harvest was basically unchanged, while the total harvest was up 16 percent. A total of 161,057 deer were taken by firearms deer hunters statewide through the end of their season.