DNR Fish and Wildlife Almanac

October 11, 2021


Pheasant hunting opens this weekend
The Minnesota pheasant hunting season opens at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16. Hunters should check regulations before they head out into the field. Hunters ages 16-64 must purchase a small game license and pheasant stamp to hunt pheasants in Minnesota, and all pheasant hunters must wear at least one visible article of clothing above the waist that is blaze orange or pink. Bag and possession limits, pheasant transportation requirements, a hunting prospects map and more information are available on the DNR website.

Join this webinar on pheasant hunting strategies
Anyone curious about hunting pheasants is invited to join a DNR webinar at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 13. Matt Lee from Minnesota Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and James Burnham, DNR R3 coordinator, will discuss pheasant hunting strategies, techniques and how to get started. The webinar is part of the DNR’s Minnesota Outdoor Skills and Stewardship Series, which aims to give participants quick, relevant information on upcoming seasons and events, and skills to help enjoy these opportunities. Registration and more information are available on the DNR website.

Statewide youth deer season returns Oct. 21-24
Minnesota’s youth deer season will continue statewide for its third year, starting Thursday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 24. The season coincides with statewide teacher workshops, so many Minnesota students don’t have school during the youth season.

To participate, youth must be 10-17 years old and have a deer license. Participant numbers are not limited and there is no special permit, so parents should obtain a regular deer hunting license for the youth who will be hunting.

An adult parent, guardian, or mentor must accompany youth ages 10-13. All youth hunters and mentors must follow blaze orange/pink clothing requirements. Adults may not hunt, unless they are in an area open during the early antlerless season and have the corresponding license. Complete youth season details are available on the DNR youth deer hunting page.

Early antlerless-only deer season is Oct. 21-24
Hunters can participate in an early antlerless-only deer season from Thursday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 24. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has expanded the early antlerless deer season to include more deer permit areas in central and southeastern Minnesota. The season increases opportunities for hunters in areas where deer populations are above population goals or where there is an increased risk of CWD spreading.

Permit areas open during the hunt are 213, 214, 215, 221, 227, 236, 277, 341, 342, 343, 604, 605, 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649, 655 and 701. The DNR offers this opportunity to hunters in an effort to manage local deer herds. Hunters need at least one early antlerless permit to participate and the limit is five deer, which is in addition to the statewide bag limit. Hunters can use additional permits to tag additional deer, and must purchase them before hunting. Deer hunting regulations are available on the DNR early antlerless hunt page.

East-central zone sharp-tailed grouse hunting season closed
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the DNR has closed the sharp-tailed grouse hunting season in the east-central zone, due to significant population declines in this area. The DNR will continue to work with the Minnesota Sharp-tailed Grouse Society and Pheasants Forever to explore habitat management options.

Sharp-tailed grouse habitat losses are driven by brushlands becoming forest, land use conversion, and fewer fires and other large-scale disturbances on the landscape that historically created and maintained the large open areas of grassland and brushland that sharp-tailed grouse need.

Closing the season is difficult but necessary. Sharp-tailed grouse in the area currently exist in association with limited and disjunct habitats where harvest of even a few birds could seriously impact sustainability and genetic diversity within these isolated populations.

In the northwest sharp-tailed grouse zone, hunting season is Saturday, Sept. 18, through Tuesday, Nov. 30. Ruffed grouse and spruce grouse hunting season is Sept. 18, through Jan. 2, 2022. More information is available on the DNR website.

Winner chosen for pheasant stamp contest
Richfield artist Timothy Turenne won the Minnesota pheasant stamp contest with a painting of a pheasant standing on a grassy field edge. The winner was selected on Sept. 30. Second place was Mark Thone of Shakopee; third place was Mark Kness of Albert Lea, out of seven eligible submissions. The pheasant stamp can be purchased in combination with a hunting license, or as a collectable. Visit mndnr.gov/stamps for more information about habitat stamps and contest guidelines.

Winner chosen for turkey stamp contest
Virginia artist John Barnard won the Minnesota turkey stamp contest with a painting of a wild turkey standing in grass, with a field and woods in the background. The winner was selected on Sept. 30. Second place was Karla Hall of Stillwater; third place was Kurt Kegler of Mankato, out of five eligible submissions. The turkey stamp can be purchased in combination with a hunting license, or as a collectable. Visit mndnr.gov/stamps for more information about habitat stamps and contest guidelines.