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Bucks like this Minnesota 8-pointer -- or 4x4, as North Dakota hunters would call it -- will be a prime target this coming weekend when deer season opens. North Dakota's deer season opens at noon Friday, and Minnesota hunters will take to the field Saturday morning. (Minnesota DNR photo)

Deer by the numbers

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North Dakota's firearms deer season opens at noon today, and Minnesota hunters will take to the field Saturday morning. As outdoors happenings go in the two states, few events can rival the opening of deer season. Here's a closer look at hunting trends in Minnesota and North Dakota.

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Big businesses

- Minnesota's 475,000 deer hunters invest nearly 4.6 million days annually on deer hunting, according to the 2002 "Economic Importance of Hunting in America," published by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

- About 74,000 people hunt deer annually in North Dakota, logging nearly 554,000 days in the field, the report said.

- In 2001, deer hunting in Minnesota accounted for 4,825 jobs and nearly $236 million in retail sales, the report said. Throw in the "multiplier effect," and deer hunting was worth more than $465 million to the state's economy.

- In North Dakota, deer hunting in 2001 created 639 jobs and contributed more than $33 million to the state's economy. Add in the multiplier effect, and deer hunting was worth more than $57 million in North Dakota, the report said.

Weather trends

- In Minnesota, the normal high temperature for Nov. 6 - this year's deer opener date - ranges from the upper 30s across the north to the upper 40s near the Iowa border. The average low temperature is in the 20s. The historical probability of receiving measurable precipitation Nov. 6 is about 25 percent - typically snow in the north, with rain more likely in the south.

Last year's Minnesota deer opener, Nov. 7, was warm and dry with high temperatures in the upper 50s to upper 60s, nearly 20 degrees above normal. This year's forecast for opening day in northwestern Minnesota calls for mostly sunny skies with a high near 48.

- In North Dakota, the average maximum temperature for November is 36.7 degrees, with an average monthly temperature 27.2 degrees and an average minimum temperature of 17.7 degrees, according to the U.S. Geological Society.

Deer season opens at noon today, and the forecast for Grand Forks is sunny with a high of 46 degrees.

Total deer harvest

Minnesota's total deer harvest for archery, rifle and muzzleloader since 2005:

2005: 255,736

2006: 270,778

2007: 260,434

2008: 221,837

2009: 194,186

Number of firearms deer licenses the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has offered since 2005:

2005: 145,600

2006: 143,500

2007: 148,500

2008: 149,400

2009: 144,900

2010: 116,775

Play by the rules

The Minnesota DNR offers these suggestions for hunters to avoid breaking the law, knowingly or otherwise, while in the field. The tips apply to hunters on both sides of the Red.

- Take time to read and understand the hunting regulations.

- Tag your deer promptly.

- Carry a roofing nail in your pocket: A nail is a handy reminder that you must validate your deer license at the site of the kill.

- Wear a watch: Don't guess at the time for legal shooting hours.

- Plan your hunt and hunt your plan.

- Handle guns carefully near cars and camps. Load and unload your guns in the field, not while standing in a group.

- Trespassing is the most frequent complaint landowners have against hunters in Minnesota. Know the law.

Top violations

Top five big game violations North Dakota game wardens and Minnesota conservation officers encountered in 2009:

Minnesota

1. Transport uncased/loaded firearm.

2. No license.

3. Hunt over bait.

4. No blaze orange.

5. Untagged deer.

North Dakota

1. Loaded firearm in vehicle.

2. Illegal possession/taking.

3. Fail to carry license.

4. (Tie) Motor vehicle off trail/restricted area.

Hunting on posted land without permission.

5. Failure to tag.

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