New licensing system coming in 2025

The DNR plans to launch a new electronic license system, which will include a mobile phone app, in spring 2025.

The ELS is the primary system that issues angling and hunting licenses and permits to residents of Minnesota and other states. It also registers and titles outdoor recreation equipment, including watercraft and off-highway vehicles.

The new, modern system will make it easier for customers to buy licenses, register their harvests and sign up for safety training. It also will improve the business process for agents, registrars and DNR staff.

Sign up for updates on the new license system 

License, permits and lottery preference

In 2025, Minnesota will have more ways to buy hunting and fishing licenses. Most licenses will be available in both digital or print-at-home formats. Depending on your purchase option, you will download your license to your smart phone or print it. We will still have license agents to sell licenses, too. With the updated system, you will be able to check your account including lottery preference points.

Online and mobile

In 2025, Minnesota will move to mobile and online systems for hunting and fishing licenses and permits so you can buy them online and download them right away. Licenses will continue to be available from agents. You also can print your license on plain paper. A free mobile application will be available to allow you to validate and register your harvest even if you are offline or out of service. You will still be able to register your harvest at agent locations as well.


Minnesotans will be able to print licenses at home or save licenses electronically. License agents will also have options to print your license on plain paper.

Safety classes

We are adding an online event management system so you can find, enroll and pay for education and safety training classes and print duplicates of your safety certificates. Once you pass safety certifications, you will be able to buy licenses immediately through the same system.

Hard cards

Hard cards were researched and found to be an added expense to the customer. Your license will be available electronically to store on your smart device or be printed on paper to keep with you. License agents will still be available statewide to sell licenses.

Deputy registrars

Recreational vehicles will continue to be processed at deputy registrar offices across the state or at the DNR central office in St. Paul. Renewals still will be available to process online.

When will the system be available?

Licenses and permits are expected to be available for purchase on Tuesday, March 4, 2025. The last day for license and permit sales in the current system will be Thursday, Feb. 27, 2025.

No licenses or permits will be sold online, by phone or by license agents from Friday, Feb. 28, 2025, to Monday, March 3, 2025. For uninterrupted use or access, any license or registration that expires during the closed period must be renewed by Thursday, Feb. 27, 2025.

What if the system is not ready by March 4, 2025?

The DNR has a contingency plan in place with the current license provider to continue services if the new system is not available by March 4, 2025.

How did you decide to move to this new system?

The DNR conducted stakeholder surveys and focus groups with customers, volunteers, agents and deputy registrars before finalizing requirements for a new license system. Stakeholders also provided input during the intent-to-negotiate phase with the top three potential vendors.

We're staying engaged with select agents, deputy registrars and upcoming stakeholder updates to keep everyone informed of project progress.

How can I stay up to date on these changes?

Sign up for updates on the new license system 

Why are durable, plastic paper licenses going away?

To meet our customers' needs for newer technology, the DNR moved to most licenses becoming electronic; however, starting in March of 2025, plain 8½ x 11 paper licenses still will be available.

How will I carry and show my license?

Starting in March of 2025 their there will be three options:

  • Paper: Any license may be purchased at a license vendor or online and printed on standard 8½ x 11 printer paper. Users may print as many copies as they wish to keep in their wallet, glove box and other places. Previously, a fee would have been charged for a replacement license. License agents may still charge a replacement cost if they need to reprint a paper license.
  • Electronic: Upon purchase from a vendor or online, a hunters or anglers who have provided an email address can have a portable document format file (PDF) emailed to them. Purchasers may save this file on their phone or be used to print paper copies. The electronic copy may be used as proof of license purchase.
  • Mobile Application: When the license is purchased from the mobile application, the license is stored in the application. Cellular data service is needed to purchase a license but will not be needed to display a purchased license.
Why are one-day paper licenses in books of 10 going away?

Due to ease of purchasing options in the future system the decision was made that one-day paper licenses (typically sold by charter boat captains) would not be cost effective for the DNR.

Why can’t a driver’s license hold my recreational licenses?

Minnesota law requires that a person must present a recreational license if requested by a conservation officer.

Will physical harvest tags be needed?

Placing a durable harvest tag on a bear, deer, elk, prairie chicken, sturgeon or turkey will not be required under the new system; however, anglers and hunters still must validate their harvest at the site of the kill as prescribed by the commissioner.

Will I need a trail sticker for my recreational vehicle?

Durable trail stickers for off-highway vehicles and snowmobiles no longer will be issued. Rather, trail passes will be issued electronically or printed on a sheet of paper, depending upon customer preference. Registration stickers still will be provided and must be affixed to the vehicle. (Note: Watercraft decals still will be printed on durable stock as they are today.)

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