UNDATED -- Approximately 500,000 hunters will take to the woods and fields this weekend for the firearms deer hunting opener.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is expecting a deer harvest of around 200,000 this season as deer population numbers are strong. Last year, 35% of firearm deer hunters harvested a deer and a total of 197,500 white-tails were taken.

The DNR is reminding hunters to follow the three tenets of firearms safety. Those tenets are to treat every gun as if it's loaded by keeping your finger off the trigger, always control the muzzle of the gun and be sure of your target and what's beyond.

The firearms season opens a half-hour before sunrise Saturday.

Minnesota's current white-tailed deer record is a 500 lb. buck.

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