Though the count is not final, preliminary numbers from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) indicate the deer harvest is down from last year.
Dave Kanz, acting area wildlife manager for Aitkin, Crow Wing and southern Cass counties, said numbers available Monday, Nov. 18, were not yet final.
At that time hunters still had time to register their deer, and Kanz expected figures to rise.
For Zone 242, a total of 905 deer have been registered so far, including 412 bucks and 493 antlerless deer. Zone 242 extends roughly from Pequot Lakes in the west to County Road 3 in the east, and from County Road 1 in the north to Brainerd in the south.
Last year Zone 242 had a total of 1,233 deer, including 481 bucks and 752 antlerless deer.
In Zone 246, 2,563 deer have been registered so far, including 1,295 bucks and 1,268 antlerless deer.
That zone extends from Pequot Lakes in the east almost all the way to Sebeka in the west, ending at County Road 23, and from County Road 87 out of Backus in the north to Highway 210 in the south.
Last year, that zone had 4,246 deer registered, including 2,087 bucks and 2,159 antlerless deer.
Kanz expects more deer registrations to come in, so the numbers aren’t final. He still expects a 10-15 percent drop in the harvest from last year.
“It’s hard to compare (this year’s) numbers with last year’s at this time,” Kanz said.
He said the drop could be due to the windy weather on the firearms deer opener Saturday, Nov. 9, and the single-digit temperatures on opening Monday, Nov. 11. The weather wasn’t really good for sitting for a long time, Kanz said.
Final numbers for zones in the 200s should be released Thursday, Nov. 21, Kanz said.
Zones in the 100s still have another week of firearms hunting. The dividing line between the 200 zone and 100 zone runs along County Road 1 to Emily and down Highway 6 to Garrison.