The preliminary numbers are in, and Minnesota hunters have killed 6 percent fewer deer through the second weekend of this year’s firearms deer season than during the same time last year, the Department of Natural Resources reported Wednesday.
According to the DNR, Minnesota hunters shot 128,814 deer through the second weekend of the season. Overall, hunters had killed 7 percent fewer antlered bucks and 5 percent fewer antlerless deer.
The state’s firearms deer season ended Sunday for all but northeast Minnesota, where the season ends this coming Sunday. A late firearm season in southeast Minnesota begins Saturday and concludes Dec. 1.
“Based on our population estimates, the decrease in buck harvest was not anticipated and may reflect hunting conditions more than population,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “Based on the preliminary numbers, our opening and second weekend harvests from Saturday to Monday were down 4 and 13 percent, respectively, and we experienced windy conditions the first weekend and both wind and rain the second weekend.”
Personally, the decline in hunting success doesn’t surprise me in the least, based on the reports I’ve gotten from other hunters. Almost to a person, the hunters I’ve talked to in northwest Minnesota have said this was one of the quietest deer seasons they can ever remember.