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A spotty year for deer hunters

Evan VanOrsdel bagged a 10-point, 202-pound trophy buck while hunting on the family farm northeast of Wadena. VanOrsdel's kill shot covered a whopping 400 yards.1 / 3
Chris and Carver Hultgren of Maple Grove came up with a 200-pound eight-pointer while hunting southwest of Wadena.2 / 3
Jim Goeden took down a massive 230-pound eight-pointer while hunting in the Wadena area.3 / 3

You did not get a deer? You did not fire a shot?

Hey, this was the kind of year where you had plenty of company.

Deer hunting success across Zone 2, the largest zone in Minnesota, was down 16 percent. Statewide the harvest was down 11 percent with the biggest drop in Zone 1, which includes the forested area of northeastern Minnesota. Southeastern Minnesota's Zone 3 was up 24 percent.

Park Rapids Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager Rob Naplin predicted crops would be a big factor. A late spring led to a late corn planting. The wet October delayed soybean and corn harvest even more.

"A lot of people were not seeing many deer," Naplin said. "Those that capitalized on their opportunities were successful."

While the deer harvest was up around Wadena over the first three days of the nine-day firearms season, it was down at some Park Rapids area stations by 50 percent.

Standing crops were not the only factor. The unseasonably mild weather, punctuated by very wet weather, did not stimulate the normal amount of deer movement.

Some hunters were bitter about their lack of chances but Naplin believes the pre-season modeling by the DNR proved pretty accurate in helping to determine whether a kill block should be intensive (up to five deer), management (up to two deer) or lottery (antlerless deer only by lottery drawing).

Muzzleloader hunting is coming up in December and the archery season for deer goes to the end of the year.

Naplin expects the existing permit area limits to remain quite similar in 2010.

Area Deer

Registration Numbers

(Nov. 17)


Orton's: 713

Holiday: 550


Carr's: 450


Shell Sports and Bait: 1,079

New York Mills

Cenex: 1,026


Bluffton Oil: 300