Youth deer season

Young boy sitting proudly next to a deer.

The 2019 season is complete

Youth hunters harvested 5,700 deer during the statewide youth deer season Oct. 17-20, up 77 percent from the 2018 youth deer season.

Before opening day, 21,211 youth licenses had been purchased, up more than 50 percent from last year at the same time. After the first day of the season, the total increased to 27,960 youth licenses. A total of 7,896 licenses purchased through the youth season were for first-time license holders.

Not all youth licenses were used during youth deer season. Some youth won't hunt until the regular firearm deer season opens on Saturday, Nov. 9.


Minnesota offers mentors an ideal way to share hunting knowledge and traditions with youth ages 10-17 during the statewide youth deer season.

The four-day season begins the Thursday of the third week in October and concludes Sunday. It coincides with statewide teacher workshops so many Minnesota students don’t have school during the youth season’s first two days.

Minnesota's youth deer season began in 2004 in northwestern Minnesota. Over the years, it expanded to 28 deer permit areas in parts of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area where deer were most abundant.

Typically, temperatures in the middle of October are warmer than those during the regular November firearm deer season, snow has yet to set in for winter and deer are moving more during the daylight hours. Those factors create an ideal opportunity for youth deer hunters.


  • Youth ages 10-17 may take one either-sex deer by firearms statewide, including in the Whitewater State Game Refuge.
  • Deer permit area 287 (Itasca State Park) is not open for the youth deer season.
  • A regular youth deer license is all that is required. An early antlerless deer license is not required for youth to participate in this season.
  • Participant numbers are not limited and there is no special permit.
  • Deer, including fawns, harvested in either the southeast or north central CWD management zone must be tested for CWD and remain in the zone until a "not detected" test is confirmed.
  • Certain parts of a deer may leave a CWD management zone before test results are received. Dispose of other parts properly by using designated dumpsters within the zone or working with a processor or taxidermist within that zone.
  • An adult parent/guardian/mentor 18 or older must accompany youth ages 10-13 at all times during the hunt. The adult does not need to be licensed.
  • Blaze orange/pink requirements apply to all hunters, trappers and adult mentors in areas open during this season.
  • The accompanying adult cannot hunt and party hunting is not allowed (youth must tag their own deer), except during the early antlerless season with the correct license.
  • Youth 12 years of age and older must have a firearms safety certificate or apprentice hunter validation.
  • Participating youth must possess a valid firearm deer license. Youth age 10, 11 and 12 must possess a free license.
  • The bag limit is one deer only. Youth may use their regular license or a bonus permit if they take an antlerless deer, except in “bucks only” deer permit areas.
  • Bucks must be tagged with the youth’s regular license.
  • Participation does not affect eligibility for the regular deer season; however, the harvested deer counts against the youth’s annual statewide bag limit.
  • Deer permit area designations for the youth season are the same as for the regular firearms deer season. For example, a deer permit area designated as hunter choice during firearms season is hunter choice during the youth season.