Minnesota is the perfect destination for hunters! With its varied landscapes, plentiful wildlife, and breathtaking scenery, it has something to offer everyone. From deer and bear to turkey and grouse, there’s an abundance of game species in the state.
Whether you’re aiming for a trophy buck or simply stocking up on venison – Minnesota will put your hunting skills to the test. Plus, with plenty of public lands available all over this great state – from Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in the north down through rolling prairies further south – you’ll find that special spot where success awaits.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover all you need to know about hunting in Minnesota. We go over what to hunt, where to hunt, hunting seasons, and license information. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.
What Can You Hunt in Minnesota?
With a variety of game animals like deer, bear, turkey, grouse, and pheasant – you’re sure to find something that’ll suit your fancy in Minnesota. Deer season is especially popular in the state with plenty of opportunities.
If you want to go after bears, then springtime offers some thrilling chances at bagging one. Waterfowl hunters will love all the diverse duck and goose species available too. And if small game’s more your style, there are loads of rabbits and squirrels just waiting for someone brave enough to take them on.
White-tailed deer can be seen all around Minnesota, from the prairies to forests and swamps. They’re no strangers to suburban or rural areas either – so much so that they often become a nuisance on roads.
In wintertime, their appetite for hay or corn stored by farmers causes them even more trouble. But when danger is near, they have an interesting way of warning each other: by fanning their ears and raising their tails up like a white flag.
Hunting white-tailed deer in Minnesota can be an exciting experience. To bag the perfect buck, make sure you know and respect local regulations, practice your shooting at different distances, and wear suitable clothing for the hunt.
The best time to go? During their fall rutting season when they’re most active.
White-tailed Deer Season Minnesota
|Archery||Sep 16 – Dec 31|
|Early Antlerless||Oct 19 – Oct 22|
|Youth||Oct 19 – Oct 22|
|Muzzleloader||Nov 25 – Dec 10|
|Firearm Season A (100 Series permit areas)||Nov 04 – Nov 19|
|Firearm Season A (200 & 300 Series permit areas)||Nov 04 – Nov 12|
|Firearm Season B (300 Series permit areas)||Nov 18 – Nov 26|
|CWD Hunt||Dec 15 – Dec 17|
|Metro Deer Management Zone||Nov 04 – Nov 26|
With its abundance of open fields, forests, and public land, Minnesota is a hunter’s paradise when it comes to elk. Home to both Rocky Mountain and Eastern herds, there’s plenty of variety for an adrenaline-filled hunt.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to the sport, be sure not to miss out on the opportunity this season – late August through mid-October – to track down these majestic animals with their impressive antlers.
|A (Either Sex)||Sep 09 – Sep 17||20|
|B (Either Sex)||Sep 23 – Oct 01||20|
|C (Either Sex)||Oct 07 – Oct 15||20|
|D (Antlerless)||Sep 09 – Sep 17||20|
|E (Antlerless)||Sep 23 – Oct 01||20|
|F (Antlerless)||Oct 07 – Oct 15||20|
|G (Either Sex)||Sep 09 – Sep 17||30|
|H (Either Sex)||Sep 23 – Oct 01||30|
The black bear is the only species of its kind found in Minnesota. They’re usually restricted to wooded areas, where they use their acute sense of smell and mental map of the region to locate food sources that change seasonally and annually.
Bears often wander into open fields for sustenance but tend to stick around northern parts – even grazing on corn or other crops close to agricultural zones.
Black Bear Season in Minnesota
|Bear Baiting||Aug 11||Permit Areas|
|Bear Season||Sep 01 – Oct 15||Permit Areas|
Gone are the days when wild turkeys were a rare sight. Now they can be spotted all over southern, western, and even central Minnesota. They usually move in flocks so if you look around wooded areas near farm fields or pastures, chances are you’ll find them.
In particular, southeastern Minnesota has high concentrations of these birds while Detroit Lakes and Brainerd as far north have some too. Hunting for these birds during their spring or fall seasons is also becoming increasingly popular with hunters.
Wild Turkey Season Minnesota
|Fall Wild Turkey||Sep 30 – Oct 29|
|Spring Firearm Season A||Apr 27 – Apr 24|
|Spring Firearm Season B||Apr 24 – Apr 30|
|Spring Firearm Season C||May 01 – May 07|
|Spring Firearm Season D||May 08 – May 14|
|Spring Firearm Season E||May 15 – May 21|
Hunting rabbits in Minnesota is a great way to hone your skills as an outdoorsman. All year round, you can find these small game animals, from woodlands and fields to even some suburban areas.
With the right license in hand, grab your firearm or archery equipment and take advantage of late winter when rabbits are more active and easier to spot. Whether you’re looking for a challenge or just want something new on the dinner plate, rabbit hunting is sure to bring excitement into any hunting experience.
|Jackrabbit||Sep 16 – Feb 29||1 per day|
|Cottontail Rabbit, Snowshoe Hare||Sep 16 – Feb 29||10 combined per day|
Hunting for squirrels in Minnesota is a great opportunity! The Land of 10,000 Lakes is home to both red and gray species, each with its own unique coat. Red squirrels have reddish-brown fur sprinkled with white patches on the back and tail while grays are larger and come in a grayish-brown coloration that transitions to white underneath.
No matter which kind you’re after, they can be hunted both day or night as they search for food like nuts, seeds, fruits, insects – whatever catches their eye.
To make sure your traps are set up correctly, it’s important to know where these critters live and what type of foods they prefer so you don’t miss out on any potential prey.
Squirrel Hunting Season
|Fox Squirrel, Gray Squirrel||Sep 16 – Feb 01||7 combined per day|
The coyote is the most populous large predator in Minnesota. They hunt small mammals as their primary source of food, but they have been known to take down larger animals and livestock too.
These canines don’t usually get along with their much bigger relatives, wolves, and tend to wander up to three miles a day. Coyotes are seen throughout the state, particularly in southern areas such as Minneapolis and St. Paul, where they thrive in both rural and forested land types.
They also do well among prairies or forests that offer plenty of cover to hide from any potential threats; making them versatile hunters indeed.
|Coyote||Jan 01 – Dec 31||No Limit|
Foxes are a common sight in Minnesota, so if you’re patient and skilled enough, you can be successful on your hunt. To increase your chances of success, it’s essential to plan for the winter months when foxes are most active.
Make sure you have the right clothing and gear for tracking and trapping before heading out – not to mention familiarizing yourself with hunting regulations in Minnesota.
When picking a spot to hunt, look for areas with plenty of cover like thick brush or tall grass – foxes love hiding here! If all else fails try calling or using decoys as bait to draw them out.
Once they’re located, however, it takes patience; these critters bolt at even the slightest sign of danger. So consider different techniques such as stalking quietly around their den or luring them in with calls or baits.
|Gray Fox, Red Fox||Oct 14 – Mar 15||North Zone|
|Gray Fox, Red Fox||Dec 23 – Mar 15||South Zone|
Hunting raccoons in Minnesota is an exciting opportunity that shouldn’t be missed! From late March through early June, they become more active, making this the prime time to hunt.
Stake out a spot at night if you want to find them – binoculars and either a rifle or shotgun with slugs or buckshot are all you need. If bowhunting’s your thing, make sure you have arrows with broadheads designed for small game like raccoons.
No matter where in Minnesota you’re hunting, chances are that there’ll be plenty of these critters around; they’re especially abundant up north.
|Raccoon||Oct 14 – Mar 15||North Zone|
|Raccoon||Oct 21 – Mar 15||South Zone|
The bobcat is the most common of Minnesota’s three wildcat species, alongside the Cougar and Canada lynx. Though they’re rarely seen in southern parts of the state, around 2,000 make their home in northern regions.
With woodlands full of prey like young aspen forests and cedar swamps – where deer usually gather during winter time – it’s no wonder why these creatures are so prevalent in north-central and northeastern counties. Hunting them is a great challenge while you are hunting in Minnesota.
|Bobcat||Dec 16 – Jan 21||North of I-94, U.S. Highway 10|
|Opossum||Oct 14 – Mar 15||North Zone|
|Opossum||Oct 21 – Mar 15||South Zone|
|Badger||Oct 14 – Mar 15||North Zone|
|Badger||Oct 21 – Mar 15||South Zone|
|Trapping Only||Oct 28 – Feb 28||North Zone|
|Trapping Only||Oct 28 – Feb 28||South Zone|
|Trapping Only||Oct 28 – Feb 28||North Zone|
|Trapping Only||Oct 28 – Feb 28||South Zone|
|Trapping Only||Oct 28 – Jan 21||North Zone|
|Trapping Only||Oct 28 – Jan 21||South Zone|
|Trapping Only||Oct 28 – May 15||North Zone|
|Trapping Only||Oct 28 – May 15||South Zone|
Pine Marten Season
|Trapping Only||Dec 16 – Dec 24||North of I-94, U.S. Highway 10|
|Partridge||Sep 16 – Jan 01||5 per day|
|Ruffed Grouse, Spruce Grouse||Sep 16 – Jan 01||5 combined per day|
|Sharp-tailed Grouse||Sep 16 – Nov 30||3 per day|
|Pheasant||Oct 14 – Nov 30, Dec 01 – Jan 01||2 per day|
|Mourning Dove||Sep 01 – Nov 29||15 per day|
Prairie Chicken Season
|Prairie Chicken (via special permit)||Sep 23 – Oct 01||2 per day|
|Woodcock||Sep 23 – Nov 06||3 per day|
|Sora Rail, Virginia Rail||Sep 01 – Nov 06||25 combined per day|
Sandhill Crane Season
|Sandhill Crane||Sep 16 – Oct 22||2 per day|
|Crow||Sep 01 – Oct 31, Dec 15 – Dec 31||No Limit|
|Crow||Jan 01 – Jan 15, Mar 01 – Mar 31||No Limit|
|Snipe||Sep 01 – Nov 06||8 per day|
|North Zone||Sep 23 – Nov 21||6 per day|
|Central Zone||Sep 23 – Oct 01, Oct 07 – Nov 26||6 per day|
|South Zone||Sep 23 – Oct 01, Oct 07 – Nov 26||6 per day|
|Early Geese Season||Sep 02 – Sep 17||5 combined per day|
|North Zone||Sep 23 – Dec 23||5 combined per day|
|Central Zone||Sep 23 – Oct 01, Oct 07 – Dec 28||5 combined per day|
|South Zone||Sep 23 – Oct 01, Oct 07 – Dec 28||5 combined per day|
|Teal||Sep 02 – Sep 06||6 per day|
|North Zone||Sep 23 – Nov 21||15 per day|
|Central Zone||Sep 23 – Oct 01, Oct 07 – Nov 26||15 per day|
|South Zone||Sep 23 – Oct 01, Oct 07 – Nov 26||15 per day|
|North Zone||Sep 23 – Nov 21||5 per day|
|Central Zone||Sep 23 – Oct 01, Oct 07 – Nov 26||5 per day|
|South Zone||Sep 23 – Oct 01, Oct 07 – Nov 26||5 per day|
Minnesota Hunting License Information
Whether you’re new to hunting or have been outdoors for years, getting your Minnesota hunting license is a must. To do so, all hunters aged 12 and up need to complete the Hunter Education Course – available online or in person – that covers essential concepts like firearm safety, wildlife identification, and ethical hunting practices.
Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to purchase your license which can be done through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website or any authorized licensing agent within state limits.
When buying one, make sure you have proof of age/residency on hand as well. Your MN Hunting License will stay valid for 1 year from the date purchased and lets you hunt legal game species without additional permits such as deer tags, turkey tags bear tags, etc., but waterfowl stamps may still be required depending on what type of game animal is being hunted.
Where Can You Hunt in Minnesota?
Welcome to Minnesota: the Land of 10,000 Lakes! Whether you’re a veteran hunter or just getting started, there’s something for everyone in this great state. There are three hunting zones – Northwest Zone, Northeast Zone, and Central Zone – each with its own regulations and seasons.
Additionally, Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and Scientific & Natural Areas (SNAs) provide additional opportunities for hunters seeking game species like deer, turkey, grouse, bear, waterfowl, pheasant, rabbit, squirrels, and more.
Furbearers such as raccoons and beavers can also be hunted during specific seasons. Before heading out on a hunt though, it’s important to check local wildlife office regulations – some public lands may require special permits or tags before you’re allowed in the field.
Public Hunting Places in Minnesota
Superior National Forest
With over 3 million acres of public land, the Superior National Forest offers an abundance of opportunities for hunters. From deer and grouse to wolves and lynx – there’s no shortage of wildlife to spot.
The terrain here is varied; from hilly wetlands to dense forests – it’s a great place to camp out in search of your prey. Fall is the best time for hunting as cooler temperatures increase visibility and make spotting game easier. Remember though: Hunting regulations apply so be sure you know them before setting off on your adventure.
Chippewa National Forest
With over 1.2 million acres of public land, Chippewa National Forest is the perfect destination for anyone who is interested in hunting in Minnesota. From whitetail deer and black bear to grouse and waterfowl, this forest has something for everyone.
The terrain here varies from upland hardwoods, lowland conifer swamps, aspen stands and grassy meadows – providing the ideal home for an abundance of wildlife species.
White-tailed deer can be spotted year-round while black bears are visible during spring and summer months. Grouse and waterfowl populations also thrive in this national park making it a great place to take aim at your target game animal.
It’s important to stay up-to-date on hunting regulations so you know what season applies when visiting Chippewa National Forest; safety should always come first too.
Wear bright clothing so you’re easily seen by other hunters or animals that cross your path – don’t forget a whistle or other signaling device just in case.
Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area
Located in western Minnesota, the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area is an ideal spot for outdoor enthusiasts. With a diverse range of game species such as white-tailed deer, turkey, ruffed grouse, woodcock, and waterfowl to chase after, and plenty of trails to explore or camp overnight on – this area has something for everyone.
The easy access roads make navigating around the terrain almost effortless while strategically placed blinds and stands offer hunters the perfect opportunity to get closer to their prey.
For those who prefer fishing rather than hunting, there are also ample opportunities along the banks of the Minnesota River with its abundance of fish species waiting to be caught.
Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge
Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is situated in Minnesota and offers some of the best hunting experiences around. With opportunities to hunt deer, turkey, waterfowl and much more – you won’t be disappointed. Not only that but it’s home to an abundance of other wildlife for observing as well.
The terrain at Sherburne is diverse with plenty of cover for game animals making it a prime spot to set up your blind or stand. Plus, there are several different habitats like wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands throughout the refuge giving you ample places to scout out potential prey.
Whether you’re looking for spring turkey season (where only shotguns are allowed) or deer season (muzzleloaders can come along), this refuge has something all year round – just make sure that during certain times blaze orange clothing must always be worn.
Rydell National Wildlife Refuge
With more than 2000 acres of public terrain, Rydell National Wildlife Refuge is a hunter’s paradise. From upland game birds to big game like elk and deer, there are plenty of opportunities for experienced or new sportspersons alike. The refuge plays host to an array of species such as waterfowl, rabbits, and squirrels that can be hunted in season.
The landscape offers something for everyone with hillsides rolling into meadows that give way to wetlands surrounded by forests – an ideal habitat for wildlife galore.
There are several designated hunting areas within the refuge; however, it’s important you check regulations before heading out as each area has specific rules requiring valid licenses and tags/stamps depending on what type of animal you plan to hunt.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
If you’re looking for an exhilarating and rewarding hunting experience, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is the spot. This pristine wilderness in northern Minnesota offers a unique opportunity to hunt some of the most beautiful and remote areas around!
The area is home to white-tailed deer, black bear, moose, ruffed grouse, bobcat, woodcock, ducks, geese, beaver, and otter – providing plenty of options that are sure to please every hunter’s skill level.
For those seeking out a more traditional style of hunting, there are several established campsites with access to prime grounds while adventurers can also canoe or kayak their way through for an even more adventurous time.
With plenty of wildlife waiting just beyond your line-of-sight this wild getaway promises an intense yet highly satisfying outdoor experience of hunting in Minnesota.
Private Hunting Places in Minnesota
Here’s what you need to know before setting out to hunt on a private hunting place in Minnesota. First, find an accommodating landowner who has the necessary permits and licenses for you to hunt on their property–you can search online or ask around your local outdoor community.
Once that’s done, make sure you’re aware of all relevant state laws and regulations when it comes to hunting in this area. Respect boundaries, don’t disturb other hunters or wildlife, and follow any specific instructions given by the landowner.
Bring everything needed for a successful hunt: firearms/bows with ammo/arrows, weather-appropriate clothing plus whatever else is required according to game wardens.