Make a deer hunting plan

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. 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.

3. 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.

If you're concerned about chronic wasting disease, you can collect a lymph node sample and pay a small fee for a private test. View the complete video instructions on how to properly collect a lymph node sample and laboratory information.

4. Be safe

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

5. 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.