A delayed corn harvest, together with snowy, wet weather in some parts of the state, might have slowed the deer kill on opening weekend.
The Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday that firearms hunters registered 70,724 deer the first two days of deer season, about the same as a year ago.
Due to an increased number of antlerless permits available this season compared to a year ago, and the number of permit areas that allow multiple deer to be harvested, the DNR is predicting a harvest this fall of about 200,000 animals.
Last year the kill was 173,313.
Of deer harvested this past weekend, 57 percent were bucks, compared to 67 percent during the first weekend harvest of 2016.
In Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, total firearms harvest was up 16 percent. In Zone 2, the harvest was down 5 percent, and in Zone 3, in the southeast, the kill was down 20 percent.
“We expected to see an increased harvest this year, and that appears to be so in Zone 1. In the other zones where the first weekend harvest is off, it could be that the amount of standing corn negatively affected deer harvest,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager. “If that is the case, we should see improved deer harvest as more corn is harvested.”
The deer season continues through Nov. 12 in much of the state. More information is at mndnr.gov/deer.