Minnesota's deer harvest in 2012 was down 4 percent from the previous year -- and was the lowest kill in 13 years.
Hunters shot 184,649 whitetails, compared to 192,331 in 2011. It was the fewest deer killed since 180,569 were taken in 1999.
Department of Natural Resources officials expected the decline because the agency issued fewer antlerless permits.
"Reduced harvest overall was intentional and expected for 2012,'' said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. "In much of the state, we have met [or are near] population goals set during the last process. As a result, the focus in many areas has turned to stabilizing or slightly increasing deer numbers. The more conservative harvest reflects that focus.''
Meanwhile, archery hunters killed 21,556 whitetails, a 5.4 percent increase from last year. And muzzleloader hunters registered 7,494 deer, 78 (1 percent) more than last year.
Duck, pheasant stamps rise
Duck and pheasant stamp sales increased a bit in 2012, a somewhat encouraging sign for state wildlife managers. The DNR sold 89,960 duck stamps, 446 more than last year. And the agency sold 90,478 pheasant stamps, 3,660 -- or about 4 percent -- more than last year.
The DNR also sold 277,467 small game licenses, 1,887 more than last year.
Angling contest is on
The 23rd annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza is set for Saturday on Gull Lake near Brainerd. Officials were issued a permit for the contest last week, when the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department found clear, consistent ice. The contest, which usually draws more than 10,000 anglers, runs from noon to 3 p.m. For information, see www.icefishing.org.
Waterfowl hall of fame
The Minnesota Waterfowl Association has announced its 2013 Hall of Fame selections, who will be inducted Feb. 2 in Bloomington. They include:
Randy "the Flagman" Bartz -- manufacturer and educator of field goose hunting products.
Roger Holmes -- former DNR Fish and Wildlife director who died in 2008.
Arnie Krueger -- conservationist, wood duck enthusiast, decoy carver and painter.
Denny Kumlin -- of Delano, a waterfowl conservationist, avid duck hunter and Ducks Unlimited historian.
Grady Mann -- of Knife River, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who died in 2010.
Kevin Lines -- of North Branch, a former DNR area wildlife manager and conservation easement section leader for the Board of Water and Soil Conservation.
Tony Rondeau -- of Fergus Falls, a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and a founder of MWA's Woodie Camp and Advanced Woodie Camp.
Did you know?
Minnesota DNR area wildlife manager Randy Markl of Windom was awarded Ducks Unlimited's 2012 Minnesota Conservation Partner of the Year award, for his many years of dedication to wetlands and waterfowl conservation.