Minnesota hunters harvested 184,649 deer during the 2012 season, down 4% from 2011, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The decline reflects the fact that hunters had fewer chances to harvest antlerless deer because the 2012 season was designed to help stabilize and increase populations, said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. "We expected the reduction," she said.
Firearms hunters harvested 155,599 deer while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 21,556 and 7,494 deer, respectively. The statewide archery harvest was up 5%, muzzleloader harvest increased 1% and firearm harvest was down 5% from last year.
The DNR will conduct aerial surveys over portions of the state later this winter. Population modeling, coupled with select aerial surveys, will be used to determine deer density. Management designations for 2013 deer permit areas will be determined once the new density estimates are compared to established population goals.
"Hunters should pay close attention to the hunting synopsis, which comes out in mid-July, to see if they need to apply for a lottery either-sex permit," McInenly said.
The final deer harvest number is calculated using information provided by hunters when they register their deer. A final report, which includes more detailed harvest information, will be available online in the coming weeks at www.mndnr.gov/deer.
For the 2013 season, the deadline for the either-sex permit application is Thursday, Sept. 5. Archery deer hunting begins Saturday, Sept. 14. Firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 9. Muzzleloader season opens Saturday, Nov. 30.