Hunters harvested about 170,000 deer during the 2022 deer hunting season, a lower total harvest than in recent years.
The total harvest was down 7% compared with the 2021 season and 10% less than the five-year average deer harvest for Minnesota, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.
“Lower deer numbers in northern Minnesota and poor weather during opening weekend in some parts of the state likely contributed to lower firearms A season harvest,” said Barb Keller, DNR big game program leader. “Hunters struggled with rain and wind in some parts of the state during early November, but weather was better during later seasons including firearms B and muzzleloader seasons.”
The number of deer harvested during muzzleloader season was the highest reported since 2007 and was 10% higher than the 2021 season harvest, the DNR reported. The archery season harvest was about 1% lower than the 2021 season. Most of the archery season harvest occurred prior to the firearms season and peaked in late October and early November.
An analysis of the 2022 deer harvest is underway. A final deer harvest report will be available in March — past season harvest reports are available on the DNR website.
Chronic wasting disease remains a serious and persistent threat to Minnesota’s deer herd health, but sampling efforts revealed some good news — that three consecutive years of disease surveillance in deer permit areas 157, 159, 213, 225 and 273 yielded no detections of the disease in wild deer.
Consistent with the DNR’s CWD management plan, these zones were established due to the detection of CWD in captive deer facilities, the agency said. Following these three consecutive years of no detections in wild deer, successful hunters in these DPAs will no longer need to submit samples for testing.
“This is great news for deer and deer hunters,” said Erik Hildebrand, wildlife health program supervisor. “We greatly appreciate hunters’ help monitoring these areas over the past few years.”
CWD was detected in 26 hunter-harvested deer through the 2022 fall seasons. Of these, 73% were from the southeast, a region that continues to see persistent CWD infections in wild deer.