Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Firearms deer harvest down 14 percent in NE

Hunters can’t recover from slow start to the season

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 11/29/18

REGIONAL— Deer hunters posted somewhat better numbers in the final week of this year’s firearms deer season, but it wasn’t enough to overcome lower-than-expected results from earlier in the …

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Firearms deer harvest down 14 percent in NE

Hunters can’t recover from slow start to the season

Posted

REGIONAL— Deer hunters posted somewhat better numbers in the final week of this year’s firearms deer season, but it wasn’t enough to overcome lower-than-expected results from earlier in the season. And that means hunters will likely fall well short of a statewide goal to harvest 200,000 whitetail deer this year.

As of the end of the regular firearms season in most parts of the state, hunters had registered 148,020 deer, down about eight percent from the same period last year. In northeastern Minnesota, the harvest was down 14 percent, the largest decline of any region in the state.

Through the final day of the regular firearms deer season, hunters in northeastern Minnesota, or Zone 100, had registered 49,303 deer, including 27,715 bucks. Last year, as of the end of the season, the hunters in Zone 100 had registered 57,363 deer, including 31,844 bucks.

Locally, hunter success was somewhat better, according to DNR Tower Area Wildlife Manager Tom Rusch. In the Tower work area, the total harvest was off by just two percent. The buck harvest was down one percent, while the antlerless take was four percent lower.

It’s not entirely clear why the harvest was down this year. After four straight relatively mild winters, DNR wildlife officials loosened bag limits in anticipation of a strong harvest.

Wildlife officials blamed an earlier-than-average opener, which timed the opening weekend ahead of peak deer movement, for the slow start to the harvest.

Deer movement appeared to improve as the season wore on, which allowed hunters to recover some ground despite very cold temperatures and snow that settled in for the second and third weekends of the season.

Despite more deer activity, hunters couldn’t make up for the slow start to the season. Generally, regular firearms hunters harvest about 70 percent of their deer during the first four days of the season.

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snowshoe2

Some areas in zone one are down as much as 25% when they should of been up over 10%. That is like 35% less than predicted. WE just got to regroup and realize Mn deer modeling method is full of flaws. Just almost 100% of the time when reexamined estimates come out high.

Many of the areas were estimated to have 25-35 deer per sq mile in zone 1. The truth they have about 40% of that,if lucky. Yes Ely estimates were lower than that but still too optimistic. Two deer limit south of Vermillion lake.Why maybe there is a good explanation.

Population modeling is not working. Use it as a population index and as one of many tools. Not the main tool.

Thursday, November 29