Deer hunting

News & notices

Camp Ripley lottery open

Applications to participate in Camp Ripley's archery hunt are being accepted through Friday, Aug. 19, 2022. The format has changed to a single three-day event from a choice of two weekends.

Make a plan; share the fun

Every hunter needs a plan. Before you head off to deer camp, use this tool to help make yours. Also consider sharing your deer camp and hunting photos and logging your deer sightings.

New for 2022

A number of changes are in place for 2022. Among them are additions to CWD areas, the return of mandatory CWD testing and new bag limit labels. Read more in our what's new section or the regulations book.

CWD testing

CWD sampling is mandatory for all deer one year and older that are harvested on the opening weekend (Saturday, Nov. 5, to Sunday, Nov. 6,) of the A firearms deer season in DPAs designated as a CWD zone. The sampling requirement applies to all CWD management, control and surveillance zones.

Exceptions: Sampling is voluntary in DPAs 213, 256, 257, 262, 265 and 273 until sampling goals are reached. Sampling stations, either staffed or self-service, will be available in these CWD surveillance zones.

Carcass movement restrictions are in effect for all CWD management and control zones.

Detailed maps and corresponding information are available in the CWD information section and on the fold-out deer map, which is distributed with the printed regulations booklet.

Test for CWD yourself

There are several options, including a free mail-in kit for hunters, to test for CWD. These options are available to all hunters – even those outside a CWD zone.

Deer permit areas affected

ZoneArea(s)
Management zone604, 605, 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649, 655, 6611 (was 261), 6791 (was 179)
Control zone255, 343, 344
Surveillance zone110, 157*, 159, 184, 169*, 197, 213, 225*, 273
1 New CWD designation
* Only a portion of this deer permit area is within the surveillance zone.

CWD zone definitions

  • Surveillance: CWD has been found in captive deer in this zone or in wild deer in an adjacent deer permit area or state. The DNR is gathering information to determine if CWD has infected any wild deer in these deer permit areas. Some precautionary management actions are in place.
  • Control: This zone borders a management zone where CWD in wild deer persists or a slight spread has been documented. These areas are designated to help prevent further disease spread.
  • Management: CWD has been found in wild deer in these areas. Multiple management actions designed to help mitigate disease spread are in place.

Licenses

All deer licenses (archery, firearms, muzzleloader and bonus permits) go on sale Monday, 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.

Download the 2022 Hunting & Trapping Regulations book.

General

  • 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.
  • Know the difference between a deer and an elk.
  • Special CWD regulations, including mandatory disease testing and carcass movement restrictions are in effect in a number of areas. See page 69-82.
  • Deer permit area 179 is now 679 and deer permit area 261 is now 661. Both 679 and 661 have been added to the CWD management zone. See page 70.
  • There will be opportunities for any hunter to have their deer sampled for CWD even in areas where CWD has not been detected.
  • The early antlerless deer season has been expanded to include more deer permit areas and the bag limit has changed from five deer to three deer. Hunters are no longer required to purchase an early antlerless permit to participate. Find details on page 84.
  • Hunters may only possess and use non-toxic ammunition when participating in a special hunt or disease management hunt in a Minnesota state park or Scientific and Natural Area or in a regular hunt in a Scientific and Natural Area in which hunting is allowed. Find details on page 87 and a list of SNAs open to hunting on page 115.

Management

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.