Higher-than-average temperatures and a growing deer population combine this weekend for the Minnesota firearms deer hunting opener.

Average November high temperatures are about 40 degrees, according to www.weatherspark.com. This Saturday's forecast in the Owatonna area is for highs in the upper 60s.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports a growing population of deer should lead to an increase in the 2016 harvest. Officials credit two years of mild winter weather and lower recent harvests. DNR officials are forecasting that up to 185,000 deer could be taken this year. In 2015, about 159,000 deer were harvested.

The DNR reports that nearly 500,000 people are deer hunters. Last year nearly one-third of hunters took a deer. The average hunter spends five days in the field. Total hunting related expenditures are about $725 million.

Hunters must remember to register their deer before having them processed. Hunters in southeastern Minnesota in the 300 series permit areas will have their deer tested for chronic wasting disease. Those hunters will need to register deer in person. Otherwise registration can be done over the phone or online.