ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota hunters registered over 68,400 deer on the first three days of the state's firearms deer season.

The Department of Natural Resources says that's up over 6 percent from the first three days of the 2014 season, when regulations were tightened to rebuild the state's deer herd. The buck harvest for the first three days of the firearms season was up 8.5 percent from last year.

Steve Merchant, the DNR's wildlife populations manager, says hunters are seeing more deer this year, and that limits on antlerless permits means they're seeing more deer they can't shoot. But he says hunter patience this year should translate into more opportunities later.

The DNR projects the total harvest this season at 140,000 to 155,000, compared with just over 139,000 after last year's conservative season.