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Warm weather made it tougher to bag a deer this season

Warmer weather over the deer hunting firearms season made it easier for hunters to stay in their stands longer, but might have been why some hunters had bad luck.

"Whenever the weather is warm, deer, especially does, just plain don't walk around," said DNR Area Wildlife Manager Earl Johnson.

Does have their winter coats already and Johnson said it isn't likely that the deer would be walking around in 50-degree weather with a heavy coat.

"You're going to have to step on them to get them to move," he said.

Other factors affecting this year's firearms season include hunting regulation changes and a lower number of deer -- two factors that are related.

Johnson said some areas have been changed from managed hunting to lottery areas and the number of harvest permits has been reduced. Both measures are designed to help restore the deer population in Minnesota.

According to a statewide summary of electronic licensing systems, data through Nov. 13 shows registration of big game numbers are down about three percent from last year.

As of Nov. 13, 2006, 168,822 deer were registered. For the same date in 2007, the number was 163,604.

Johnson said the DNR still expects the harvest to increase by 10 percent this year. Not all registration sites use the electronic system and the deer hunting seasons aren't completely over in the state.

Firearms season is over in this area. Bow hunting is open through Dec. 31. The muzzleloader season opens Nov. 24 and ends Dec. 9.

Johnson said there is one more reason for hunters not finding deer in the area this year.

"In reality, some of the permit areas just do have fewer deer," he said.