News & notices
Provide input on deer populations
The second year of goal setting focuses on areas of southwest and northeast Minnesota. Learn more about the process and how you can participate.
Make a plan; share the fun
|Archery||Sept. 19 - Dec. 31|
|Firearm (A) - 100 Series||Nov. 7 - 22|
|Firearm (A) - 200 Series||Nov. 7 - 15|
|Firearm (A) - 300 Series||Nov. 7 - 15|
|Firearm (B) - 300 Series||Nov. 21 - 29|
|Muzzleloader||Nov. 28 - Dec. 13|
|Metro deer management zone (701)||Nov. 7 - 29|
|North central CWD management zone (604)||Nov. 7 - 22|
|South metro & southeast CWD management zone - 600 Series||Nov. 7 -15; Nov. 21 - 29|
|Youth - Statewide||Oct. 15-18|
|Early antlerless||Oct. 15-18|
|Disease management - southeast & south metro||Dec. 26-27; Jan. 2-3|
|2021 Firearms deer season opener||Nov. 6, 2021|
See what surplus permits are available in lottery areas.
Chronic wasting disease
2020 CWD testing is voluntary
In an effort to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission among hunters, all CWD testing will be voluntary for fall 2020. Instead of staffing sampling stations, DNR will provide self-service stations where hunters can properly mark, tag and drop deer heads.
In all deer permit areas where CWD has been detected, hunters are asked to voluntarily submit deer heads from deer one year of age or older at a self-service sampling station. Hunter-submitted samples are one of the most important ways to help monitor the extent of this disease.
Carcass movement restrictions remain in effect for all CWD management and control zones.
Deer permit areas affected
|East-central surveillance area||157, 159, 225, 236|
|North-central management zone||604|
|South metro management zone||605|
|South metro surveillance area||292, 293, 338, 341, 701|
|Southeast control zone||255, 343, 344|
|Southeast management zone||643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649, 655|
|West-central surveillance area||213, 273|
CWD zone & area definitions
Test for CWD yourself
If you hunt in a deer permit area that is not in a CWD disease mangement zone, control zone or surveillance area but still would like to have your deer checked, watch this video to learn how to collect a lymph node sample and pay for a private test.
All deer licenses (archery, firearms, muzzleloader and bonus permits) go on sale Saturday, Aug. 1. Once on sale, licenses may be purchased at any time before or during the season.
After a deer season is open, all licenses and permits are valid the same day of purchase if purchased before legal shooting hours. If the license or permit is purchased after legal shooting hours have begun, it is valid the following day.
- A person may purchase no more than one firearms, muzzleloader and archery deer license in a calendar year.
- Bonus, early antlerless season and disease management permits may be purchased in addition to regular licenses. Bonus permits may be purchased throughout the season but must be in possession when taking deer. Regular licenses and bonus permits may be used in any order.
- A person may not take or tag deer without the appropriate license or permit. The term “take” includes attempting to take deer, deer drives, spotting or otherwise assisting another person in taking deer.
Tagging your deer
Your deer license and site tag comes as a two-part form. The upper half is the site tag for tagging the deer in the field. The lower half is the deer license and registration slip. Hunters must do the following:
- Detach the site tag from the deer license/registration slip.
- Before moving the deer, the hunter whose name is on the license validates the tag by using a knife or similar sharp object to cut out the notches indicating the month, date and time of day the deer was killed (AM/PM).
- If more than one month, date or time is cut out or marked, the tag becomes invalid.
- Hunters may not take deer with the aid or use of bait.
- Ensure you are using legal equipment for taking big game.
- Hunters using firearms to take big game must use legal ammunition.
- Legal bucks have one antler at least 3 inches long.
- Fawn bucks, sometimes called button bucks, are not legal bucks.
- Antlerless deer are deer without an antler at least 3 inches long.
New for 2020
- Special CWD regulations, including voluntary disease testing and carcass movement restrictions are in effect in a number of areas.
- A new CWD management area has been created in the south metro. Special regulations apply.
- Due to the continued expansion of the CWD management zones, antler point restrictions are temporarily canceled statewide.
- Party-hunting (also known as cross-tagging) for antlered bucks is allowed statewide.
- The early antlerless deer season has been expanded to include more deer permit areas.
- Experimental regulations allowing hunters to leave portable tree stands overnight in some northwestern Minnesota WMAs have been discontinued.
- Some deer permit area boundaries have changed. Check the map to ensure the boundaries of areas in which you hunt have not changed.
Download the 2020 Hunting & Trapping Regulations book.
Know the difference between a deer and an elk.
DNR, municipalities and organizations across Minnesota offer opportunities to hunt at special times and in areas that might regularly be closed to hunting.
Participation in these hunts is limited and often requires special registration. Consult the information contained in regulations book and the links below to register and participate in these hunts.
Earn-a-buck regulations apply during some special hunts. The regulation requires that a hunter harvest and tag an anterless deer with his or her own tag before harvesting a antlered deer.
Learn to hunt
Do you value strong connections to your outdoors and the food you eat? Are you looking for a new way to interact with the fields, woods, and waters around you?
Then view our series of 10 free, one-hour Learn To Deer Hunt lunchtime webinars. These classes, recorded earlier this year, offer an introduction and explanation of deer hunting and how to do it.
Beginning in September, the DNR also will offer a series of short videos designed to help make you a better deer hunter. From sighting in your gun to managing land to reading deer sign and setting up your stand, these videos are intended to help regardless of your experience level.
Hunting is only one aspect of the DNR's effort to manage deer for the public trust. We are committed to socially and ecologically responsive and responsible deer management for the benefit of all Minnesotans now and into the future. Visit our deer management page to learn about the many things we do to manage one of Minnesota's most popular animals.