City of Grand Rapids special deer hunt enters eighth season

August 18, 2020

Applications for firearm and muzzleloader permits due Sept. 10

The city of Grand Rapids will hold its eighth special deer hunt this fall in an attempt to maintain lower deer numbers within the city limits. The hunt is open to archery, firearms and muzzleloader hunters during the regular season dates for those hunts.

To participate, a hunter must purchase a regular license for the type of hunt they want to participate in through the DNR’s electronic licensing system (ELS). Hunters may purchase up to two bonus permits through the ELS to take additional antlerless deer. This allows them to hunt within open areas within the city. The city hunt limit is three deer and hunters may take only one antlered buck.

Muzzleloader and firearms hunters will have to apply for their special hunt permit through the ELS by Thursday, Sept. 10. Special hunt numbers are 931 for firearms, and 946 for muzzleloader. The city special hunt has unlimited permits available so if hunters apply correctly, and by Sept. 10, they will be drawn and issued a permit to hunt within the city. Permits for this special hunt will be mailed in mid-October.

Firearms or muzzleloader hunters who want to hunt in a lottery area and participate in the Grand Rapids special hunt must apply under different weapons; one weapon for a lottery area antlerless permit and a different weapon for the special hunt. Hunters cannot apply for both with the same weapon.

Special hunt permits for the archery season hunt can be obtained at the Grand Rapids Police Department after purchasing a regular archery license. There is no special archery hunt license number for the city archery hunt and archers should purchase a regular statewide archery hunting license through ELS and up to two bonus tags. Hunters must obtain the special hunt permit from the city to possess and use those two bonus tags for the city archery hunt.

Deer taken in the special hunt must be registered under the special hunt numbers (995 for archery, 931 for firearms, and 946 for muzzleloader) and not the larger permit area 179. A deer taken outside of the city hunt boundary cannot be registered under the city hunt number.

Most of the land in the allowed hunting areas is privately owned. Hunters must get permission directly from private landowners to hunt or cross private land. A map depicting allowed hunting areas is available on the city of Grand Rapids website at under the map tab. Itasca County plat books and online public records can help prospective hunters identify landowners in order to seek permission to hunt.