A strategy to achieve deer population goals by allowing hunters to harvest fewer deer succeeded in 2009, according to final deer harvest numbers the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released.
Hunters harvested 194,178 deer during the 2009 season. The decline reflects the fact that fewer permits were available to hunters to harvest antlerless deer because the deer population has been reduced to desired levels in many permit areas.
“We regulate deer populations by allocating antlerless deer harvest,” Cornicelli said. “In 2008, one-third of deer permit areas were lottery. In 2009, half the deer permit areas were either lottery or bucks-only, so hunters could only take one deer and many did not receive an either-sex permit. Consequently, total harvest declined because thousands of antlerless deer were not included.”
Firearm hunters harvested 165,428 deer while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 20,659 and 8,091 deer, respectively. Overall, the statewide firearm harvest was down 13 percent from 2008. Archery was down 9 percent. The muzzleloader harvest decreased 15 percent.
However buck harvest in 2009 was only 1 percent lower than in 2008 and archery and muzzleloader hunters actually took 6 percent and 11 percent more bucks in 2009, respectively.
Final population estimates will be completed after the winter ends. DNR staff re-evaluates populations relative to established goals. In many areas, hunters should expect similar bag limits and possible placement of their hunting area into the lottery designation, requiring them to apply for lottery permit.
The final deer harvest number is calculated using information provided by hunters when they register their deer. A final report, which includes more detailed harvest information, is available online at www.mndnr.gov.
Hunters should pay close attention to the hunting synopsis, which comes out in early August, to see if they need to apply for a lottery either-sex permit.
For the 2010 season, the deadline for the either-sex permit application is Thursday, Sept. 9. Archery deer hunting will begin Saturday, Sept. 18. The statewide firearms deer-hunting season opens Saturday, Nov. 6.. The muzzleloader season opens Saturday, Nov. 27.