Undated (KROC AM News) - Nearly 71,000 deer were registered during the opening weekend of Minnesota’s firearms season.

The Minnesota DNR says the total is about the same as it was during the 2016 opener. The DNR says 57-percent were bucks, compared to 67-percent during the opening weekend a year ago.

In Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, the opening weekend harvest was was up 16 percent. In Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state and runs from Canada to Iowa, harvest was down 5 percent and Zone 3, in southeastern Minnesota, was down 20 percent.

“We expected to see an increased harvest this year, and that appears to be so in Zone 1. In the other zones where the first weekend harvest is off, it could be that the amount of standing corn negatively affected deer harvest,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager. “If that is the case, we should see improved deer harvest as more corn is harvested.”

The DNR continues to project the 2017 harvest will be around 200,000. Just over 173,000 were tagged last year.

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