Minnesota Hunters Harvest
Fewer Deer In 2008
January 27, 2009
Minnesota deer hunters
harvested nearly 222,000 deer in 2008. This is a decline of 38,000,
or about 19 percent, from 2007, but the ninth consecutive year the
harvest has exceeded 200,000.
“Bad weather opening weekend, lower deer populations in many permit
areas and more lottery areas all had a role in the lower harvest,”
said Dennis Simon, wildlife section chief for the Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Still, hunters found success
and we were able to lower deer populations in some areas.”
Overall, the statewide firearm harvest was down 15 percent from last
year. The archery harvest was down 7 percent and the muzzleloader
harvest down 25 percent. Firearms hunters harvested 190,100 deer,
archery hunters 22,550 and muzzleloader hunters 9,300. Hunters who
participated in the early antlerless season, which was expanded to
30 areas in 2008, tagged 5,250 deer.
Despite the decrease from 2007’s harvest total of 260,604 and the
lowest total harvest level in five years, 2008 ranked as the
eighth-highest Minnesota deer harvest ever recorded.
“The majority of our deer harvest comes during the first weekend of
firearms season,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program
coordinator. “When the weather is bad like it was, we never fully
make up the difference the next weekend.”
Deer populations in many permit areas also were lower than previous
years, which is a direct result of aggressive antlerless deer
“In many deer areas, we’ve allowed hunters to take up to five deer
each, which by design has likely lowered populations toward our
established goals,” Cornicelli said.
Final population estimates will be completed after the winter ends
and the DNR will re-evaluate populations relative to established
goals. Additional significant winter weather in some parts of
Minnesota this year could reduce deer populations in some areas.
“Many hunters will see lower bag limits and, in some cases,
placement of their hunting area into lottery designation,”
Cornicelli said. “It’s important that hunters pay close attention to
the hunting synopsis when it comes out in late July.”
Looking ahead to the 2009 season, the deadline for the either-sex
permit application is Thursday, Sept. 3. Archery deer hunting will
begin Sept. 19 and the early antlerless deer season will be the
weekend of Oct. 10. The statewide firearms deer hunting season will
open on Nov. 7 and the muzzleloader season will open Nov. 28.