REGIONAL— Colder weather and snow has both helped and hampered deer hunters during the second weekend of the firearms deer season. That’s left the buck harvest to date on par with last …
REGIONAL— Colder weather and snow has both helped and hampered deer hunters during the second weekend of the firearms deer season. That’s left the buck harvest to date on par with last year, while hunters have registered 40 percent fewer antlerless deer.
The drop in the antlerless harvest isn’t a surprise. “We didn’t give out as many antlerless permits this year,” said Penny Backman, who is serving as interim area wildlife manager in Tower. Backman is normally based out of the DNR’s Orr area office.
Among the nine permit areas tracked by the Timberjay, hunters registered a total of 3,526 deer as of Monday morning, Nov. 15. Adult males comprised 87 percent of that harvest, for a total of 3,075 bucks. That’s just slightly above last year’s total of 3,048 bucks at the some point in the season, while it’s down 14 percent over the same period in 2019.
But antlerless registrations are down significantly, with just 451 antlerless deer registered to date. That’s compared to 764 during the same period last year and 959 in 2019.
Backman noted that the DNR opted to cut the number of antlerless tags in order to grow the deer herd. That was the consensus of a recent goal-setting process conducted by the DNR. While hunters overwhelmingly said they wanted to see more deer, achieving that objective means hunters need to take fewer deer, particularly females, at least until populations can rebuild.
This year’s hunt got off to a slow start opening weekend, as exceptionally warm weather appeared to limit deer movement. But as colder weather and snow moved in ahead of last weekend, deer activity and the buck harvest both picked up.
While some areas saw only light snow accumulation from the Nov. 11-12 storm, other parts of the region saw enough snow to hamper access for hunters, with many downed trees on forest roads.
“Deer hunting has been tough this year,” said Backman.
“First it was too warm, then we had a blizzard,” she said. “None of that is conducive to deer hunting.”
Statewide, total registrations as of Monday, Nov. 15, sat at 145,724. Adult bucks comprised 58 percent of that reported harvest, with antlerless deer, which include females and male fawns, made up the rest.
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