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Brainerd area deer harvest up 23 percent

A six-point buck high-tails it across a field near the old Crow Wing town site in Crow Wing State Park on Saturday. Zach Kayser/Brainerd Dispatch1 / 2
(Republic file photo)2 / 2

All permit areas in the Brainerd lakes area saw an increase in deer harvested following the closure of the nine-day firearms seasons.

According to preliminary numbers, the overall local increase was about 23.3 percent over 2015, that includes permit areas 242, 246, 247, 249 and 172. That harvest number could fluctuate slightly as late deer registrations could still come in.

The increased kill was expected according to Brainerd area wildlife supervisor Christine Reisz.

"I expected an increase in harvest," Reisz said. "What I saw out in the woods was a lot of does with twins. It indicates the population is growing, so we expected more people to be able to see deer."

The largest increase in harvest was noted in 242, which saw a 46 percent increase over 2015. The area changed to hunter's choice in 2016 from lottery with 500 permits in 2015.

"Our model had indicated this spring that we were at that goal population that we were striving for," Reisz said. "To maintain it at that within the goal we made it a little more liberal by allowing folks to take either sex."

Here's a closer look at the preliminary numbers in the area.

2016: 10,860 total harvest (6,721 or 61.9 percent antlered, 4,139 or 38.1 percent antlerless), up 23.3 percent from 2015.

2015: 8,806 total harvest (5,976 or 67.9 percent antlered, 2,830 or 32.14 percent antlerless.)

Comparisons by permit area

172: Available permits increased from 1,000 available in 2015 to 2,000 available in 2016. The 2016 firearms harvest was 2,741 (1,868 antlered deer and 873 antlerless), compared to 2015 of 2,386 (1,650 antlered and 736 antlerless), which amounts to a 14.9 percent increase.

242: Changed to hunter's choice this year compared to lottery 500 last year and shows a harvest of 1,148 in 2016 (640 antlered, 508 antlerless) up 46.6 percent from the 2015 harvest of 783 (575 antlered, 208 antlerless.)

246: Lottery with 3,000 permits this year compared to lottery 1,000 last year. The harvest was up 27.2 percent with a total harvest of 3,607 in 2016 (2,276 antlered, 1,331 antlerless) compared to 2,835 firearms harvest in 2015 (2,050 antlered, 785 antlerless.)

247: Hunter's choice this year compared to lottery 1,000 in 2015 and the harvest was up 31.7 percent from 2015 with a total harvest of 1,442 in 2016 (733 antlered, 709 antlerless) compared to 1,095 in 2015 (636 antlered, 459 antlerless.)

249: Lottery 1,500 permits for both 2015 and 2016 and showed an increase of 12.6 percent in harvest this year compared to 2015 with a total harvest in 2016 of 1,922 (1,204 antlered, 718 antlerless) compared to 1,707 harvested in 2015 (1,065 antlered, 642 antlerless.)