Explore the outdoors this winter by hunting Minnesota small game
Hunting pheasants, ruffed grouse, squirrels or rabbits offers opportunities to enjoy the Minnesota outdoors as temperatures fall and snow blankets the landscape.
Pheasants: Hunting season is open through Jan. 1, 2024. On Dec. 1, the daily bag limit increases to three roosters, with a possession limit of nine roosters. The best places to find pheasants at this time of year are in tall grass or cattail marshes. Hunters should remember to exercise caution around thin ice.
Grouse: Hunting season is open through Jan. 1, 2024. Wintertime grouse hunters might find success during the “golden hour,” which is the last hour before sunset, when ruffed grouse move out of their snow roosts to feed.
Squirrels: Hunting season is open through Feb. 28, 2024. Winter is breeding season for squirrels, which means they are active and easier to find.
Rabbits: Hunting season is open through Feb. 28, 2024. Hunters will find the most success around thick cover, such as brush piles, thorn tangles and briars.
Hunters also can find regulations and complete bag limit information on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website. More information about how or where to hunt can be found on the DNR’s learn to hunt webpages. Recorded webinars with tips on how to hunt pheasants, grouse, squirrels or rabbits are available on the outdoor skills and stewardship page of the Minnesota DNR website.
Hunters can donate their deer
Hunters can participate in a program that allows them to donate whole deer they harvest to food shelves and feeding programs.
The program, offered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, provides an excellent source of protein to people in need while helping reduce local deer populations.
To participate, hunters must have their deer processed at a MDA-registered meat processing plant that has agreed to participate in the program. Find the details about this program on the DNR website.
Registration open for Minnesota DNR webinars on winter outdoor skills and stewardship
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invites people interested in wildlife and outdoor skills to check out the winter program schedule for the Minnesota Outdoor Skills and Stewardship Series.
Webinars will cover winter sports that take place on the ice, owls, the northern lights, mudpuppies, reading the snow for animal tracks, ice fishing, boats and boating equipment, fish art, wolves, deer in winter, lynx and muskrats, winter foraging, and Critical Habitat license plates.
In a webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 29, Rachael Dube, one of the Minnesota DNR’s forest health specialists, will share information on emerald ash borer and its impacts on our communities and forests. Dube also will cover how property owners can prepare for and control emerald ash borer and how to manage a healthy forest in the face of this pest.
In a webinar on Wednesday, Dec. 6, a variety of experts will discuss outdoor sports that take place on ice including ice boating, ice climbing and more. Learn more about these fun sports and how to participate.
The Minnesota Outdoor Skills and Stewardship Series webinars are free and offered year-round, though registration is required. Visit the Outdoor Skills and Stewardship webpage of the Minnesota DNR website for the registration portal, more information about upcoming webinars and recordings of past webinars.
Give the gift of outdoor opportunities
For those hunting for holiday gift ideas, consider giving someone the opportunity for a lifetime of outdoor adventures with a Minnesota lifetime fishing or hunting license. The memory of time spent outdoors is one of the most meaningful gifts one can give.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers reduced rates for those under age 16 and over 50. Plus, if license prices increase or the license holder moves out of state, lifetime licenses remain valid.