Small game hunting

News & notices

A great way to start

Whether its mourning dove, squirrel or rabbit, getting started small game hunting is literally a walk through field and forest. It's a great way to learn as you observe your surroundings and what happens around you.

Where can I go

Unlike some states, Minnesota offers millions of acres of public land on which you can hunt. Use our hunting lands guide to help you research, scout and explore state, federal and county lands for those perfect spots.

You need blaze clothing

In most instances, small game hunters must wear at least one visible article of clothing above the waist that is blaze orange or pink. This could be a hat, jacket or hunting vest. Remember that more blaze will make you more visible.


Scroll table right to see more »
10/26/24 - 03/16/25BadgerSouth furbearer zone
10/19/24 - 03/16/25BadgerNorth furbearer zone
12/14/24 - 01/19/25BobcatNorth of I-94 and U.S. Highway 10
09/01/24 - 10/31/24CrowStatewide
12/15/24 - 01/15/25CrowStatewide
10/19/24 - 03/15/25Fox, Gray & RedSouth furbearer zone
10/19/24 - 03/15/25Fox, Gray & RedNorth furbearer zone
10/19/24 - 03/15/25OpossumNorth furbearer zone
10/19/24 - 03/15/25OpossumSouth furbearer zone
09/14/24 - 02/28/25Rabbit, Cottontail & Snowshoe HareStatewide
09/14/24 - 02/28/25Rabbit, JackStatewide
10/19/24 - 03/15/25RaccoonNorth furbearer zone
10/19/24 - 03/15/25RaccoonSouth furbearer zone
09/01/24 - 11/04/24Rail, Sora & VirginiaStatewide
09/21/24 - 10/19/24Sandhill CraneNorthwest goose zone
09/01/24 - 11/04/24Snipe, CommonStatewide
09/14/24 - 02/28/25Squirrel, Gray & FoxStatewide
09/21/24 - 11/04/24WoodcockStatewide

Some species listed in the small game table in the regulations booklet have their own web pages and are not listed above.

Please access those web pages to review hunting season details and information for those animals.


BadgerNo limitNo limit
Bobcat5 including trapping5 including trapping
CoyoteNo limitNo limit
Crane, Sandhill26
CrowNo limitNo limit
Dove, Mourning1545
Fox, Gray & RedNo limitNo limit
OpossumNo limitNo limit
Partridge, Hungarian510
Rabbit, Cottontail & Snowshoe Hare1020
Rabbit, Jack13
RacoonNo limitNo limit
Rail, Sora and Virginia25 combined75 combined
Skunk, StripedNo limitNo limit
Snipe, Common824
Squirrel, Gray & Fox7 combined14 combined
Weasels, Long- & Short-TailedNo limitNo limit

Shooting hours

½ hour before sunrise to sunset

Important note: Shooting does not begin until 9 a.m. on opening day for badger, fox, opossum, racoon and weasel,


A person may take raccoons between ½ hour after sunset and ½ hour before sunrise only in accordance with the following regulations:

  • Hunters must be on foot.
  • Artificial lights may be used to locate, attempt to locate, or shoot a raccoon only if the raccoon has been treed or put at bay by dogs.
  • Rifles and handguns used must use .17 or .22 caliber rimfire cartridges, including .22 magnums.
  • Shotgun shells must be loaded with No. 4 shot or smaller.
  • A person may not take a raccoon in a den or hollow tree or by cutting down a tree occupied by a raccoon.
  • Raccoon may be run by dogs during closed seasons. See page 28 for details.

Fox and coyote night hunting

  • A person may use a light to hunt for coyote or fox from Jan. 1 to March 15. See page 30 for details.
  • Fox may be run by dogs during closed seasons. See page 28 for details.
Sunrise and sunset times


  • All residents and non-residents, 16 and older, must have a valid small game license in possession to take small game.
  • Residents may hunt small game without a license on land they occupy as their principal residence.
  • State or federal migratory waterfowl stamps are not required to hunt woodcock, rails, snipe, sandhill cranes or mourning doves.
  • A person may not shoot pheasants or Hungarian partridge with a rifle or handgun other than a .22 caliber rimfire using short, long, or long rifle ammunition.
  • Shotguns used for upland birds may hold more than three shells.
  • A person may not disturb the burrow or den of any wild animal between Nov. 1 and April 1 without a permit.
  • A person may not take pine marten, fisher, mink, muskrat, beaver or otter by firearms or archery hunting; however, a firearm may be used to dispatch an animal already taken in a trap.
  • Rabbits, hares and squirrels may be taken by hunting or trapping.

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