Deer harvest down across the North Country
Nov 16, 2019 09:05AM
By Marshall Helmberger of The Tower Timber Jay - November 13, 2019
Variable deer numbers and winter-like chill for opening weekend appears to have affected the deer harvest so far this season, at least in northern St. Louis, northern Lake, and Koochiching counties. Preliminary deer registrations in those areas were down noticeably through the first three days of the season, according to data made available by the Department of Natural Resources.
“Sunday was pretty brisk and yesterday was even colder,” said Jeremy Maslowski, assistant wildlife manager with the DNR’s Tower area office. “The deer probably weren’t moving that much.”
Windchills on Monday remained well below zero throughout the day and temperatures bottomed out Tuesday morning at anywhere from ten to twenty-below-zero across the region, all of which kept most hunters off their stands. Hunter success is typically proportional to the amount of time hunters spend in the woods, so cold temperatures and windchills can significantly impact the deer harvest.
Lower harvest numbers in permit areas 177, 176, and 178 were behind the drop in registrations.
Through Monday, hunters had registered 398 deer in PA 177, a sizable drop from the 530 deer registered during the same period last year. The decline was even sharper in PA 176, where hunters had registered 400 deer as of Monday evening. That’s down 35 percent from the 613 deer registered there through the first three days of the season in 2018. PA 178 saw a similar decline.
Meanwhile, in the border country, hunters seemed to be improving on last year’s numbers. Hunters had registered 408 deer through Monday in PA 108, a modest increase over the 371 deer registered in that same period last year. Hunters registered 254 deer in PA 118 during the first three days this year, up slightly from 249 last year. Registrations were off in PA 119, where hunters registered just 99 deer through Monday.
Hunters will have an opportunity to improve on their opening weekend success with a forecast for milder temperatures for the season’s second weekend. Highs are expected to warm to close to freezing, with on and off chances of snow.