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Minnesota Hunting Seasons

Mike Slinkard

January 18, 2023

Deer hunting is a big sport in Minnesota. In 2021, roughly half a million archery, firearm, and muzzleloader hunters braved the cold and brought home close to 200,000 trophies.

But there’s more to Minnesota’s hunting seasons than just deer. Wild turkeys, bobcats, and bears are available game if you hold the proper permits during their season dates.

Ready to punch a tag in the great state of Minnesota? Here’s what the upcoming hunters need to know about the MN deer season and other exciting hunting opportunities. 

Deer Hunting Seasons in Minnesota

Deer hunters have millions of acres of Minnesota state and federal lands to explore and find the perfect 10 point buck. If you’re interested in venturing out this season, you’ll want to know when to hunt, where to go, and what the rules are. 

Deer Season Dates

Minnesota hunting seasons for deer start in mid-September and runs through December. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lists the deer hunting season dates years ahead, so you can plan your hunting trips far in advance. 

Here are the Minnesota deer season dates for 2022:

Deer Archery SeasonSeptember 17th – December 31st
Early Antlerless Deer SeasonOctober 20th – October 23rd
Youth Deer SeasonOctober 20th – October 23rd
Deer Firearm SeasonNovember 5th – November 27th
Deer Muzzleloader SeasonNovember 26th – December 11th

Some of the Minnesota hunting seasons are shorter in comparison to other states, but hunters still have plenty of time to bag a deer. 

Where to Hunt in Minnesota

With 1,300 wildlife management areas (WMAs) and 56 state forests, including the stunning Chippewa and Superior national forests, you’re never far from a prime location for hunting white-tail deer. 

Here are some of the best hunting sites with robust deer populations in Minnesota:

However, a large majority of the state consists of private land. Hunters are permitted to hunt on private land with the permission of the landowner. To determine if it’s safe to hunt on private land, look for posted signs or simply ask the owner. View the Minnesota DNR website trapping and hunting regulations for detailed information. 

Approved Hunting Equipment in Minnesota

You can use any of the following legal equipment to hunt white-tail deer in Minnesota:

  • Rifles with a minimum .22 caliber size 
  • Shotguns loaded with single-slug shotgun shells
  • Muzzleloaders — at least .45 caliber for smooth-bore and .40 caliber for rifled muzzleloaders
  • Bow and arrow with at least 30 pounds of draw weight
  • Crossbow that delivers at least 42 foot-pounds of energy at 10 feet

Minnesota also requires all hunters and trappers to wear blaze orange or pink during muzzleloader or firearm season. This ensures everyone’s safety while hunters harvest a deer. 

Cost of Deer Hunting Licenses and Permits

Hunting licenses are available for purchase starting on August 1st, however, you may obtain a license at any time during the season. If you plan to participate in multiple hunting seasons, you will need to buy separate licenses for each. 

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Youth (13 – 17)$5
Bonus Permit$14

Minnesota’s statewide bag limit is five deer, even if you hold multiple licenses. Additionally, there is a three-deer limit in a single area – which means if you’re hoping to max your tag limit, you’ll need to explore a new deer permit area. View the Minnesota DNR hunting regulations for in-depth information on the statewide bag limits. 

Deer Hunting Rules

When planning your hunt, you should make sure you have reliable gear to increase your chances of success. But before you gear up for the open season, you need to be familiar with the laws of the land. 

Hunting hours stretch from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset. Additionally, in Minnesota, it’s illegal to use bait to take a deer. Once you harvest a deer, you’ll need to tag it at the kill site and register deer carcasses within 48 hours. 

Northeastern Minnesota has distinct rules for specific deer permit areas, like harvesting bucks only in some areas. Find your specific deer permit area by viewing the interactive map for county-specific regulations. 

There are also new mandatory disease testing rules in place — if you take a deer in one of the CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) management, control, and surveillance zones, you might need to submit a sample to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

Other Hunting Seasons in Minnesota

Hunting deer isn’t the only enjoyable sport in Minnesota –if you’re ready to brave the harsh winters and unpredictable autumns, you can take aim at a variety of game in the North Star State. 

Here are the dates for other notable the hunting seasons, so you can prepare for your favorite open season:

SpeciesSeason Dates
BearSeptember 1st – October 16th
ElkAugust 27th – October 16th*
TurkeyOctober 1st – October 30th
GrouseSeptember 17th – January 1st
DuckSeptember 24th – November 27th
JackrabbitSeptember 17th – February 28th
BobcatDecember 17th – January 22nd

* The elk season is split into four separate open seasons depending upon your state location. Please consult the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for more information.


With beautiful prairies, huge forests, and a large variety of game, Minnesota has a lot to offer wilderness lovers. As long as you know when to hunt, where to plan your adventure, and what to bring, you’re bound to have an amazing experience hunting in Minnesota!

**Season dates may vary across the state and by county. For specific dates in your part of Minnesota, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website.

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About the Author : Mike Slinkard

A hunter displaying his bear on rocks near a lake

Mike Slinkard is a life long bow hunter, professional archer, successful entrepreneur, and self described science geek from the rural town of John Day Oregon. Mike has spent his life in close proximity to all types of animals. His grandfather was a well known cattle and horse rancher who first instilled Mike’s keen interest in animals and why they react the way they do in different situations. Mike’s insatiable curiosity in this realm led him to team with other professionals to make the HECS discovery in 2009. Mike has hunted all over the world and has taken over 30 species with archery gear including 48 elk to date. Mike currently hosts “Hunting with HECS TV” on the Pursuit Channel. He has also written many bow hunting and archery articles as well as being a guest on many different hunting podcasts.

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