Make a deer hunting plan - CWD surveillance 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 surveillance zone, which means that CWD has been found in captive deer or wild deer in a nearby deer permit area. Precautionary management actions in place in this DPA can detect an infection early.

Please do your part to invest in the health of Minnesota's wild deer by following all CWD management measures.

Use the surveillance zone page to find the deer permit area grouping that lists your DPA. Click the appropriate grouping to display information for your permit area.

Note that only a portion of some DPAs may be designated as a surveillance zone.

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.

The DNR's recreation compass allows you to lookup the township, range and section (PLS). Simply display the satellite imagery and click the harvest location on the map.

To see how, click the image at right. You can do this anywhere; you do not need to be at the location of your harvest.

How to get township, range and section from the DNR's recreation compass
  1. Click the icon at the lower left to display satellite imagery.

  2. Click the location of your harvest.

  3. Township, range and section appear as a PLS number in the pop-up box.

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

Processed venison in plastic wrappings identifying the meat.Some processors may not accept deer from hunters. Contact the processor you plan to use before your hunt to ensure your field-dressed deer will be accepted.

Please utilize all the useable parts of your deer and properly dispose of what's left. Disposal is allowed:

  • On private land with the landowner's permission;
  • Through your refuse hauler after checking how to properly bag the carcass; or
  • At a landfill.

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.

  • Share your deer camp and deer hunting photos with us so we can share them back with all of you.
  • Use the hashtags #DeerCampMN and #HuntMN in all your social media posts.
  • Tag @Minnesota Wildlife in your deer camp and deer hunting posts on Facebook.
  • Help someone new learn how to deer hunt.