Hunters have killed 129,000 deer so far during Minnesota’s firearms deer season — down about 6 percent from this time last year. Officials believe windy conditions are primarily responsible for the reduced harvest.
The whitetail harvest in the northeast is down even more, the results of a tough winter last year. “We also reduced antlerless permits in response to anticipated impacts of the winter,’’ said Leslie McInenly, Department of Natural Resources big game program leader.
Meanwhile, deer license sales are down 2,700 from this time last year. The DNR sold 459,665 licenses through the weekend. The regular firearms season ended Sunday in much of the state, but it continues through Sunday in most of northern Minnesota.
Wolf season update
Minnesota’s early wolf season has closed in the northeast zone, where hunters killed 31 wolves; the target there was 33 wolves. Hunting remains open in the northwest zone, where hunters had registered 47 wolves as of Tuesday; the quota there is 73. The late wolf hunting and trapping season begins Nov. 30.
Did you know?
• DNR conservation officers continue to issue citations and seize firearms and archery equipment from deer hunters caught hunting over bait. Officer Anthony Bermel of Babbitt cited seven hunters last week. “In each case rifles were confiscated, as well as three bucks that were shot over bait, which adds a $500 restitution cost to the offender’s fine amount,’’ he reported. “Baits have run the gamut from various types of grain to grain blocks to sweetened salt blocks to apples to squash and carrots, or a combination of several of them.’’
• Officer Brad Johnson of Ham Lake reports that for the second time in his career he discovered “dummies” in deer stands. A property-line squabble caused two people to dress scarecrows in blaze orange clothing and place them in stands to discourage others from hunting that area.
• Minnesota’s corn harvest was 94 percent complete as of Monday, about a week ahead of normal.