Minnesota deer harvest declines 4 percent

Published On: Jan 28 2013 03:29:20 PM CST
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -

Minnesota's deer harvest declined in 2012 but officials say it was a safe season for people who took to the woods.

Final numbers released Monday show that Minnesota hunters killed nearly 185,000 deer, down 4 percent from 2011.

Leslie McInenly, the big game program leader at the Department of Natural Resources, says the decline was expected because the DNR issued fewer permits to take antlerless deer in a move to build up the deer population.

The archery harvest was up 5 percent and the muzzleloader harvest increased 1 percent, but the firearms harvest was down 5 percent from last year.

The DNR says only one hunter fatality and 19 injuries were reported. Capt. Mike Hammer credits the state's hunter education program, in which 4,300 volunteers taught 23,000 students last year.