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Firearm deer harvest may top 2009

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports that firearm hunters have registered 171,000 deer since the firearm season opened on Nov. 6. During opening weekend, 107,000 deer were registered.

"This year is on pace to exceed the 195,000 we harvested in 2009," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator.

Cornicelli said the new online and toll-free phone deer registration options have decreased the time lag between harvest and reporting and opening weekend numbers should not change very much over time. Unlike previous years, when hunters took their deer to registration stations, 54 percent of this year's successful hunters simply registered their deer by computer or phone.

The northeast Minnesota firearm season (Zone 1) concluded Sunday, Nov. 21. The late southeast firearms season (Zone 3B) began Saturday, Nov. 20, and ended Sunday, Nov. 28. The muzzleloader deer season opened on Nov. 27 and closes on Sunday, Dec. 12.