Minnesota hunters harvested 184,649 deer during the 2012 season, down 4% from 2011, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR says the decline reflects the fact that hunters had fewer chances to harvest antlerless deer because the 2012 season was designed to help stabilize and increase populations.
Firearms hunters harvested 155,600 deer while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 21,556 and 7,494 deer, respectively. The statewide archery harvest was up 5%, muzzleloader harvest increased 1% and firearm harvest was down 5% from last year.
The DNR will conduct aerial surveys over portions of the state later this winter.
Population modeling, coupled with select aerial surveys, will be used to determine deer density. Management designations for 2013 deer permit areas will be determined once the new density estimates are compared to established population