Minnesota hunters made up for lost ground after a slow start and registered slightly more deer than they did a year ago in the statewide, nine-day firearms season. Barb Keller, big game program leader with the Department of Natural Resources, said the firearms harvest of 133,317 whitetails will grow with late registrations and with the kickoff Saturday of an extra season in the southeast. Archery and muzzleloader hunters also will add to the total.

"Given the poor opening weekend, I'm just happy we've made up the difference,'' Keller said. After the first Saturday and Sunday of the season, the DNR was 14% below its statewide deer management goal for hunting.

Hunters also increased their participation in voluntary testing for chronic wasting disease, Keller said. But the improved testing rate in some places was still below desired levels.