ST. PAUL (AP) - Minnesota hunters registered nearly 69,000 deer on the first weekend of the state's firearms deer season.

The Department of Natural Resources said Thursday the preliminary numbers were down 3% from opening weekend last year. While the total firearms harvest was up 16% in northeastern Minnesota, it was down 28% in southeastern Minnesota and down 7% in the rest of the state.

DNR big game program leader Adam Murkowski says it's too soon to say if the unusually warm temperatures last weekend were a factor in the lower harvest outside the northeast. As conditions change and hunting continues, he expects to get a better sense of how the season is progressing.

The DNR projects the total harvest at 165,000-185,000 deer, up from just over 159,000 last year.