Hunting stewardship

Field, water and woods.Hunting is more than harvesting game. Hunting is about making deeper and more meaningful connections with Minnesota’s natural resources.

Inherent in hunting is adding your commitment to species and habitat conservation efforts that ensure quality hunting for this and future generations.

You make the difference

Landowners are critical stewards of Minnesota's diverse habitats. Since privately owned land covers more than 75 percent of the state, thoughtful care of private land is an integral part of maintaining and improving our state's unique biodiversity.

Minnesota is richly diverse. Our habitats range from prairie to boreal forest and small, cold water streams to major continental rivers. These habitats provide homes for more than 2,000 native species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, bees and butterflies. But increasing challenges from development, invasive species and climate change threaten both. By managing your land for habitat, whether it’s your own backyard or the back forty, you can make a difference – today and for future generations.

Support the Nongame Wildlife Program

One of the most innovative and successful programs of its kind in the nation, the Nongame Wildlife Program works to help over 700 species of Minnesota wildlife thrive. You can easily support this program by making a voluntary donation online or on your Minnesota state income tax form. Just look for the loon on your form.

Support prairie initiatives

Native prairie is one of North America's most endangered habitat types. Only a little over 1 percent remains in Minnesota. Prior to European settlement, more than 18 million acres of prairie, with its diverse species and habitats, covered the state. Help do your part to conserve and restore prairie by supporting the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan. Its goal is to improve upland and wetland grassland habitats that provide homes to wildlife such as songbirds, prairie chickens, pheasant, waterfowl, ground squirrels, pollinators, and butterflies.

Support wetland conservation

Shallow and sometimes temporary wetlands provide breeding habitat to amphibians and invertebrates as well as waterfowl in early spring. Leaving them intact and functional is important. Draining or filling wetlands – or excavating a deep, open water pond in them – is discouraged and may violate regulations implemented to protect them. There are many wetland habitat types in Minnesota, including alder swamps, wet meadows, marshes and wet prairies.

Purchase a Critical Habitat License Plate

The Critical Habitat Plate was created in 1995 to provide an opportunity for citizens to contribute a nominal amount to conservation of Minnesota's natural resources, and show their commitment and individuality with a special vehicle license plate. The critical habitat plate replaces the standard Minnesota license plate on your vehicle.

You can show everyone you care about our state's natural resources by proudly displaying Minnesota's conservation license plate. With an annual contribution of $30 or more to the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Critical Habitat Program, you will be helping to preserve important wildlife habitat and plant communities such as wetlands, prairies, old growth forests, and endangered orchid sites.

Additionally, contributions over $30 go towards buying and managing important natural habitats, which are preserved as public lands. These lands are open to compatible public use, like hunting, hiking and wildlife watching.

Stop invasive species in their tracks

The best way to protect our natural areas from terrestrial invasive species is to prevent the spread of new invasive species to those areas. You can help prevent the spread. For example, invasive plant seeds can be transported in mud and hay. The eggs and larvae of invasive insects like emerald ash borer can be spread by moving firewood. Before you leave home

  1. Make sure your belongings are free of mud and plant debris
  2. Pack cleaning tools and supplies for your trip (brush or broom, etc.).
  3. Identify sources of local or certified firewood.

Before you leave the trail or site:

  1. Inspect your gear and remove any mud or plant debris.
  2. Dispose of plant debris and weed seeds in the trash.
  3. Leave unused firewood onsite (don't take it home with you).

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