As the Minnesota firearms deer season wraps up, a lot of hunters I’ve talked to are throwing away unused tags. Our deer camp was probably the slowest we could remember -- only a couple of deer were shot with 17 of us in the woods. We just weren’t seeing much.
There have been many things, like the full moon and the rut wrapping up around the opener, that hunters have been blaming. But with fresh snow there wasn’t any sign of deer moving at night so, for us, that wasn’t the cause.
Where we hunt north of Brainerd there is definitely growing numbers of wolves and last winter wasn’t the best for the health of a deer herd. Now we can’t control Mother Nature, so until we can start controlling the wolf numbers expect to see dwindling deer numbers in Minnesota. I’ve also talked to a lot of hunters that usually go muzzleloader hunting if they don’t fill their tag, and this year many are saying, “What’s the point?” And with the CWD thing around Brainerd I think you might see some hunters hunting elsewhere. I know I’m definitely buying a tag somewhere out west next year.
Although I will never miss deer camp and look forward to it greatly, the whole “hunting” part of it is looking a little sketchy as far as I can tell. Of course I'm not a biologist and this is just my opinion from my experience and others I’ve talked to. I'm sure some hunters had a great year. I just think there were fewer of them this year.