DNR: Deer hunting regs, licenses available; open houses Thursday
Deer hunters will have more ways to hunt in Minnesota this fall, and deer hunting licenses can be purchased starting Aug. 1.
“We’re excited for deer season. Hunters have a lot to look forward to this year,” said Barb Keller, big game program leader. “We encourage all hunters to review the new hunting regulations and make a plan for hunting success.”
New this year, crossbows are allowed for all deer hunters with an archery license, synthetic ground blinds on public lands are required to have blaze orange covering, nontoxic ammunition will be required for special hunts in state parks or in scientific and natural areas where hunting is allowed, and some harvest limits are reduced in northeast and north-central Minnesota while most areas have similar bag limits as last year.
Deer hunting specifics can be found on the Minnesota DNR website (mndnr.gov/hunting/deer). Electronic copies of all 2023 Minnesota hunting regulations are available now online (mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting). Printed copies will be available by the end of August wherever licenses are sold.
After a tough winter, deer hunters in northern Minnesota might see fewer deer. In central and southern Minnesota, deer likely fared well.
“Hunters in most of Minnesota can expect a season similar to last year in terms of how many deer they can harvest,” Keller said. “The lower bag limits in northeast and north-central Minnesota aim to allow deer populations to recover after back-to-back severe winters. Deer are resilient and we are hopeful deer populations there will gradually recover along with lower harvests, especially if we get some mild winters.”
The crossbow change allows all hunters who purchase an archery deer license to take deer with a crossbow throughout the archery deer season. Previously, only hunters 60 years or older, individuals with a disability who had a valid permit, or any hunter with a valid firearms license hunting during the firearms season could use crossbows.
The change on ground blinds requires that fabric or synthetic blinds on public land must have a blaze orange safety covering on top of the blind that is visible from all directions, or a patch made of blaze orange that is at least 144 square inches (12x12 inches) on each side of the blind.
Connect with the DNR
Anyone looking to connect with Minnesota DNR local wildlife managers about deer, wildlife, hunting and habitat topics can reach out (mndnr.gov/wildlife/talk-about-wildlife.html) by email, phone or in person at area wildlife offices on Thursday, Aug. 17, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Area managers always welcome calls from the public, so people who can’t call during the dedicated time are encouraged to do so at their convenience.
Deer season dates for 2023
• Archery: Saturday, Sept. 16, through Sunday, Dec. 31
• Youth and early antlerless: Thursday, Oct. 19, through Sunday, Oct. 22
• Firearms: Saturday, Nov. 4, with various closing dates depending on a hunter’s location
• Muzzleloader: Saturday, Nov. 25, through Sunday, Dec. 10