Make a deer hunting plan - CWD management zone

1. Buy your license

Before you can buy a deer hunting license, you need to decide where you're going to hunt. Although a deer hunting license can be used throughout the state, you must declare the deer permit area (DPA) in which you intend to hunt. Once purchased, you can hunt in any DPA and do not need to update your initial declaration of location.

Tools to help

Image showing hunters need to determine where they hunt before attempting to buy a license and link to video tutorial.

Click above for a video tutorial from our Learn to Deer Hunt webinars

2. Test for chronic wasting disease

Your permit area is a CWD management zone, which means that CWD has been found in wild deer in this area. Multiple management actions designed to help mitigate disease spread are in place.

Please do your part to invest in the health of Minnesota's wild deer by following all CWD management measures and remember that carcass movement restrictions are in place.

Use the management zone page to view the requirements and display any updated sampling station information and carcass dumpster locations for your DPA.

Know the township, range and section of your harvest

You will need to provide the township, range and section of the location where you harvested your deer.

Maps are provided at each station but hunters are encouraged to have this information for their location of harvest prior to arriving by using a cell phone or GPS device.

Zoom in completely to your harvest location on recreation compass and click. Write down the PLS number that appears in the popup box. You'll need this number for staffed sampling stations, self-service sampling stations and mail-in kits so the township, range and section of your harvest can be recorded.

Screenshot of township, range and section (PLS) location on DNR's recreation compass
3. Know the regulations

Whether you can shoot a doe or a buck and how many deer you can harvest can change from year to year in any permit area. Know the regulations for your DPA and understand how harvested deer must be handled and transported to help prevent the potential spread of disease.

Image showing hunting regulations booklet and link to video tutorial.

Click above for a video tutorial from our Learn to Deer Hunt webinars

Individual elk have been observed this fall in Clay, Norman, Polk, Clearwater, Stearns, Meeker, Watonwan, Nobles and Brown counties. Know the difference so you don't mistakenly shoot one.

4. Process your deer

You cannot take the carcass out of this permit area until you receive a "not detected" test result.

Processed venison in plastic wrappings identifying the meat.It may be difficult to find a processer willing to take your deer so contact the processor you plan to use before your hunt to ensure your field-dressed deer will be accepted.

If you can't find a processor, quartering or boning your own deer will allow you to take the meat home before receiving a test result. The main leg bone can remain in each quarter.

The following parts of deer may leave a CWD management zone before a "not detected" test result is confirmed:

  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached;
  • Meat that is boned out or that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately);
  • Hides and teeth; and
  • Antlers or clean (no brain tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.

Every deer – even those destined for a processor – must be field dressed.

To butcher your deer elsewhere, simply quarter your deer.

Can't find a processor? Butcher your own deer.

Please utilize all the useable parts of your deer and properly dispose of what's left using dumpsters in your area.

Throwing away or dumping a harvested deer is considered wanton waste. View details in the hunting regulations booklet. If you have a deer that you believe can't or shouldn't be processed or butchered, contact a conservation officer.

5. Be safe

Minnesota DNR conservation officer patch.Always know your target and what's beyond before you aim.

6. Enjoy your hunt

A multi-generational friends and family portrait taken at a Minnesota deer campHave fun, make memories and do your part to keep Minnesota's deer hunting tradition strong.