Early antlerless season deer hunt

This opportunity provides hunters the additional capability to manage local deer herds in specific deer permit areas (DPAs) of Minnesota where deer populations are estimated to be above the designated deer population goals.

Limit

The limit is five antlerless deer during the early antlerless season. This limit is separate from the statewide bag limit and other DPA limits during deer hunting seasons outside the early antlerless season including archery, firearms, muzzleloader, and any special or late hunts.

Map showing the DPAs in the 2021 early antlerless season, with DPAs in southeast Minnesota and central Minnesota shaded

Click to enlarge map.

Example: In a deer permit area that is open to the early antlerless season and designated as a 3-deer limit, hunters may take up to five antlerless deer during the early antlerless season, and an additional three deer (only one being an antlered buck) during the firearms season.

Licenses

To participate in the early antlerless season, hunters must possess a deer license and at least one valid early antlerless permit. The license can be an archery license, a firearm license or a muzzleloader license. Hunters must use weapons matching the parent license (archery, firearms, muzzleloader) used to purchase their early antlerless permit, except that a crossbow can be used with a firearms license during the early antlerless season.

Permits

Hunters may use an early antlerless permit or may substitute a bonus permit (or disease management permit in 600-series DPAs) for an early antlerless permit but still must possess at least one valid early antlerless permit to participate in the early antlerless season. An early antlerless permit remains valid for the entirety of the early antlerless season but can only be used to tag one deer.

Example: A person may tag a deer with their early antlerless permit and keep hunting, using additional early antlerless permits or bonus permits (or disease management permits in 600-series DPAs) to tag additional deer.

Each antlerless deer harvested must be tagged using either an early antlerless permit or a bonus permit. In 600-series DPAs, disease management permits may also be used to tag deer taken during the early antlerless season. The limit during the early antlerless season is five deer, no matter what combination of permits are used. If combining permits or license types, hunters can choose the order in which they use them.

Coincides with other seasons

The early antlerless season coincides with the statewide youth deer season and archery season but the early antlerless season is limited to the specific DPAs listed below. Youth can take one deer of either sex in early antlerless areas using their regular deer license as described in the hunting regulations booklet. They do not need an early antlerless permit unless they continue hunting in an early antlerless season area after their regular license is filled.

Permit areaDetail
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