ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says there was a strong response to the first statewide season for young deer hunters.

The DNR says more than 5,700 youth hunters bagged a deer during the season which ran from Oct. 17 to Oct. 20. That’s an increase of 77 percent from last year’s youth hunt which was limited to fewer areas of the state.

Before Oct. 17, about 21,000 youth licenses were sold, up more than 50 percent from last year. Another 7,800 licenses were purchased during the youth season.

Since the first youth deer season began in 2004 in northwestern Minnesota, the hunt for ages 10 to 17 has been expanded to 28 deer permit areas in parts of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro.