The Minnesota deer harvest was down this year compared to last year by approximately 8%.  Glen Schmitt from Outdoor News joined me on WJON.  He explained the DNR released the final 2023 numbers and with all the seasons combined Minnesota had 158,746 deer harvested.  In 2022, 172,200 deer were harvested.  Schmitt says 2023 was the lowest amount of deer harvested since 2014.

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photo courtesy of Glen Schmitt
photo courtesy of Glen Schmitt

Muzzleloader numbers were down at the end of the season which contributed to the decline in deer harvest numbers overall.  Schmitt says what struck him was 22,700 deer were shot by archery hunters in 2023, which was about the same as in 2022.  He says 43% of those deer shot in 2023 were killed with crossbows.  Schmitt says the new law allowing for everyone to use crossbows indicates lots of people are taking advantage of that option.  He says crossbows can shoot longer and are more accurate and it is easier to use for both women and children.  Schmitt believes many traditional archery hunters don't like the new crossbow option.

The ice fishing season got a bit of a reboot with the colder weather over the past 10 days but Schmitt says we haven't made as much ice in Central Minnesota as he had hoped.  He says ice depths still vary widely on area lakes and those on the ice should still take caution.  Schmitt says ice fishing contests usually required 12 inches of solid ice to hold contests and many lakes in the state still don't have that, putting these contests in jeopardy.  The Maple Lake Ice Fishing derby was cancelled this week.  Schmitt says a decision on the Cat Fish Festival in Richmond could come as early as Monday.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Glen Schmitt it is available below.



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