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Minnesota deer harvest down in '09

Minnesota hunters took 194,178 deer during the 2009 season.

The decline from a harvest of 222,000 deer in 2008 reflects the fact that fewer permits were available to harvest antlerless deer because the deer population has been reduced to desired levels in many permit areas, according to a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources news release.

The deer harvest peaked at 290,000 in 2003 and was above 255,000 through 2007.

Firearms hunters harvested 165,428 deer in 2009, while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 20,659 and 8,091 deer, respectively. Overall, the statewide firearms harvest was down 13 percent from 2008. Archery was down 9 percent. The muzzleloader harvest decreased 15 percent.

The harvest of bucks, however, in 2009 was only 1 percent lower than in 2008, and archery and muzzleloader hunters actually took 6 percent and 11 percent more bucks in 2009, respectively.