ST. PAUL (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has approved new deer population goals for large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota.

The agency approved the goals, covering 40 of 128 deer permit areas in the state, despite objections from Minnesota's largest deer hunters group.

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association complained this spring that the process was flawed. The 20,000-member group asked the DNR to delay the plan.

The agency postponed work on 54 other deer permit areas set to be examined next year, until a legislative audit of the state's deer population management program is complete.

DNR officials say 85 percent of the 40 areas will be managed for populations higher than those experienced in 2014. The remaining will see no change.