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Deer harvest on track with DNR expectation

Minnesota deer hunters have harvested about 96,000 deer since the firearms season opened last Saturday.

This number is consistent with expectations from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which predicted the harvest would be down from last year as a result of a slightly smaller deer herd and fewer opportunities for hunters to take a deer of either sex.

The statewide antlerless harvest is down 14 percent from last year and the buck harvest down 2 percent.

Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game coordinator said that warm, dry weather this past week will benefit hunters in the agricultural areas of the state because farmers have been actively harvesting corn, which has been providing escape cover for deer. Earlier this week only 23 percent of the state's corn had been harvested compared to the five-year average of 83 percent.

"As crops go down the potential for hunter success goes up," said Cornicelli.

Minnesota hunters harvested about 222,000 deer last year. The peak harvest was 290,000 deer in 2003.