Minnesota Hunting

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Written by:  Devn Schumacher 

May, 10 2021

Games you can take in Minnesota hunting seasons are wolves, bobcats, deer, and a lot of small animals. Although in past years, Moose hunting was common in Minnesota, the drastic reduction in their quantity has made the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources suspend Moose hunting in the state for the time being.

Minnesota Hunting Regulation.

Minnesota has hunting regulations that anyone who wishes to take games in the state must abide by. Some of the hunting regulations include the following:

Transportation of Hunting Firearms.

  • It is a prohibition to transport firearms or any type of handgun with a motor vehicle. However, there are some exceptions for the transportation of firearms and they include the following:
  • The firearm must not be loaded and must be encased such that all parts are hidden. Making use of a holster as a case is not allowed.
  • The firearm must be unloaded and hidden in the vehicle trunk.
  • The hunter must have a permit to possess the firearm.

Transportation of unloaded firearms without it being cased in ATVs and vehicles in the following cases:

  • If you have permission and you are within any shooting range in Minnesota.
  • If you are hunting legally on Minnesota public hunting land and privately owned land or while you are transporting from to and from the hunting land.

Firearms must be uncased and unloaded in the following parts of the state:

  • Ramsey, Hennepin, and Anoka counties.
  • When you are within school grounds.
  • When you are within the home rule statutory cities or a region occupied by 2,500 people or more.
  • In game refuges areas where the possession of firearms is restricted.

Discharging of Firearms from Vehicles

It is a prohibition to shoot or attempt to shoot game animals from motor vehicles. But exceptions are allowed for hunters that have a valid Minnesota disability license.

Transportation of Archery Devices

It is legal to transport bows, crossbows, and other archery devices in motor vehicles without cases, but the bows must not be armed with arrows or bolts.

Hunting with Handguns

It is unlawful for anybody that is 18 years old or more to hunt with a handgun or use it as practice shooting. Exceptions are made for those under the age of 18 years old that meet firearm safety requirements, but they can only be allowed to possess handguns for hunting when they are under the supervision of guardians or parents.

Other handgun regulations in Minnesota include the following:

For bowhunters that do not have a license to possess a weapon under the state personal protection act, it is a prohibition to possess a firearm when they are bow hunting.

It is not illegal to take games like bears and elks with firearms even when in the possession of archery.

Those that are allowed to possess firearms by the Minnesota protection act will have to transport the guns unloaded and uncased when they are traveling by vehicles to and from a Minnesota hunting land.

Hunting with Crossbows in Minnesota

People who are permitted to hunt with crossbows in Minnesota include the following:

  • Those who are 60 years old or more and have a Minnesota archery license are allowed to hunt turkeys and deer in their archery season.
  • Those with the normal Minnesota firearm license will be allowed to hunt bears, turkeys, and deer with crossbows during the specific game's firearm seasons.
  • Those that have a valid Minnesota disabled permit and archery license will be allowed to take game animals with crossbows or make use of bows that operate with mechanical devices.

Possession of Firearms in Deer Hunting Season Without Hunting Deer.

It is a prohibition for anyone to possess firearms or ammunition in a hunting area 5 days prior to the beginning of a firearm deer hunting season, until the next day after the season closes. Exceptions to this regulation include the following:

Those that are hunting big game animals with a valid Minnesota hunting license for big games.

Possession of a firearm in this period will be unlawful under the following conditions.

  • If the firearm or ammunition is unloaded or safely locked away in a safe or a motor trunk.
  • Possession of shotguns and shells that contain at most 4 buckshot.
  • Short or long rifle or handguns that have a .22 caliber or magnum with .17 caliber cartridges.
  • Possession of a handgun by a person that has the necessary permits to carry a firearm under the state protection act.
  • Possession of firearms on a target range or a person that has a target range permit provided by a state conservation office.
  • For muzzleloader season, muzzleloaders are lawful for the taking of deer in Minnesota by a person with a muzzleloader deer license for that specific season.

Protected Animals in Minnesota

Protected game animals and birds in Minnesota are those that may only be hunted under the authority or during a season specified for them by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Nongame Birds Species

A lot of birds are not permitted to be taken in Minnesota. Only designated birds may be taken during open seasons. Unprotected birds may also be taken.

Hunting Protected Species in Minnesota.

Protected species are to be killed before taking them away from the site where they were hunted.

Open Carry While Hunting.

You can lawfully open carry in Minnesota as long as you have a permit to do so. The same thing applies to bow-hunting in the state.

Minnesota has hunter harassment laws to protect hunting activities in the state.

In Minnesota, no one shall disturb or interfere with another person such that the hunting of animals is prevented.

A person shall also not alter a property used for the taking of animals with activities like camping, traveling, or driving, when the hunter already has the legal right to hunt on such promises.

Nobody shall prevent or disturb the movement of animals in the wild in such a way that it will eventually affect licensed hunting activity in the state.

Also, no trespassing on privately owned land or state forests meant for hunting in the state, without getting permission from the owner or those in charge.

Minnesota Hunting Licenses, Permit, and Tags

Hunting licenses in Minnesota are issued based on age and residency, while permits are required before the taking of certain games in the state.

Hunting licenses in Minnesota include the following:

Residents Hunting Licenses

These licenses are issued to only residents of Minnesota that want to hunt. They include the following:

Resident Hunting Apprentice License

This license is available for apprentice hunters in Minnesota that are yet to complete the hunter education course. The age requirement to apply for the license is 12 years or older. The license allows holders to take games like bears, deer and other small games. It costs $3.5

Individual Sport License

This allows residents of the state to take part in angling and small game hunting. It costs $41.

Individual Super Sports License

This allows residents to take part in angling. The license comes with a salmon and trout stamp, and a deer tag. It also allows the hunting of small game animals including waterfowls and pheasant. It costs $100.

Married Combination Sport License

This allows resident spouses in Minnesota to take part in angling and small game hunting. It costs $57.

Married Super Sports License

This allows resident spouses to take part in angling. The license comes with 2 salmon and trout stamps, and a deer tag. It also allows the hunting of small game animals including waterfowls and pheasant. It costs $126.

Youths Small Game and Trapping License

This license is available to youth residents of Minnesota that are between the ages of 16 and 17. It allows them to hunt small games and set traps on hunting sites. It costs $5.

Adults Small Game and Trapping License

This license is available for adults that are 18 years old or more but under the age of 65. It allows them to hunt small games and set traps on hunting sites. It costs $22.

Seniors Small Game and Hunting License

This license is available for senior residents of Minnesota that are 65 years old or more. It allows them to hunt small games and set traps on hunting sites. It costs $13.5.

Minnesota Non-Residents Hunting Licenses

These are Minnesota out-of-state hunting licenses issued to non-residents. Some of the most important ones include the following:

Non-resident Hunting Apprentice License

This license is available to non-residents apprentice hunters in Minnesota that are yet to complete the hunter education course. The age requirement to apply for the license is 12 years or older. The license allows holders to take games like bears, deer and other small games. It costs $3.5.

Non-resident Walk-in Access

This license grants non-residents walk-in access to hunting sites in Minnesota. It costs $3.

Non-resident Youths Small Game and Trapping License

This license is available to non-resident youths of Minnesota that are between the ages of 16 and 17. It allows them to hunt small games and set traps on hunting sites. It costs $5.

Non-resident Adults Small Game and Trapping License

This license is available for non-residents adults that are 18 years old or more but under the age of 65. It allows them to hunt small games and set traps on hunting sites. It costs $102.

Non-resident Adults 72 Hours Small Game and Trapping License

This license is the same as the normal adult’s small game hunting and trapping license but is valid for just 72 hours. It costs $75.

Minnesota Fishing Licenses, Permits, and Tags

Fishing licenses, permits, and tags available in Minnesota include the following:

One Day Fishing License

This license allows holders to fish in various Minnesota water bodies for 24 hours. It is available for both residents and non-residents at a price of $12 and $14.

3 Days Fishing License

This license allows holders to fish in various Minnesota water bodies for 72 hours. It is available for both residents and non-residents at a price of $14 and $32.

7 Days Fishing License

This license allows holders to fish in various Minnesota water bodies for 7 days. It is available for only non-residents at a price of $43.

2 Weeks Married Fishing License

This license allows holders to fish in various Minnesota water bodies for 14 days. It is available for only non-resident spouses at a price of $54.

Annual Fishing License

This is a regular fishing license valid for one year. It is available for residents and non-residents at a cost of $25 and $51 respectively.

Married Annual Fishing License

This is a regular fishing license valid for one year. It is available for resident spouses of Minnesota at a cost of $40.

Family Annual License

This fishing license is available for non-residents. It is valid for all members of a family. It costs $68.

3 Years Fishing License

This license allows holders to fish in various Minnesota water bodies for 3 years It is available for only residents at a cost of $71.

Annual Conservation License

Anglers that want to harvest fishes within a certain limit must possess this license. It is available for only residents of Minnesota and costs $17.

Married Conservation License

Married anglers that want to harvest fishes within a certain limit must possess this license. It is available for only residents of Minnesota and costs $27.

Annual Sports License

This license will allow the angling and hunting of small game animals in Minnesota. It is available for only residents of the state at a cost of $41.

Married Sports License

This is like the annual sport license but is only available for married spouses in Minnesota. It costs $57.

Annual Super Sports License

This allows residents to take part in angling. The license comes with a salmon and trout stamp, and a deer tag. It also allows the hunting of small game animals including waterfowls and pheasant. It costs $100.

Married Super Sports License

This allows resident spouses to take part in angling. The license comes with 2 salmon and trout stamps, and a deer tag. It also allows the hunting of small game animals including waterfowls and pheasant. It costs $126. 

Minnesota Hunting Season

Hunting seasons in Minnesota vary majorly for specific game animals and the type of weapon used to take them.

The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in Minnesota includes the following:

Minnesota Deer Hunting Season

  • Archery Hunting Season (19th of September to 31st of December)
  • Firearms Hunting Season (7th of November to 22nds of November)
  • Muzzleloader Hunting Season (28th of November to 13th of December)
  • Youths Hunting Season (15th of October to 18th of October)

Deer season varies from one Minnesota hunting zone to another.

Minnesota Bear Hunting Season

  • General Hunting Season (1st of September to 18th of October)
  • Minnesota Turkey Hunting Season
  • Fall General Hunting Season (3rd of October to 1st of November)

Minnesota Bobcat Hunting Season

  • General Hunting and Trapping Season (19th of December to 24th of January)

Minnesota Small Game Hunting Season

  • Rabbit Hunting Season (19th of September to 28th of February)
  • Prairie Chicken Hunting Season (26th of September to 4th of October)
  • Raccoon Hunting Season (North Zone: 17th of October to 15th of March)
  • Badger Hunting Season (North Zone: 17th of October to 15th of March)
  • Opossum Hunting Season (North Zone: 17th of October to 15th of March)
  • Red Fox Hunting Season (North Zone: 17th of October to 15th of March)
  • Gray Fox Hunting Season (North Zone: 17th of October to 15th of March)
  • Squirrel Hunting Season (19th of September to 28th of February)

Hunters should know that Minnesota hunting laws, regulations, requirements, and bag limits vary for different game seasons. Hunters are advised to visit the Minnesota DNR website for more information about the game they want to take and their hunting zones.

Minnesota Wildlife, Games, and Fishes

Some of the most common game hunted in Minnesota includes the following:

Minnesota Deer Hunting

Deer hunting in Minnesota is common in popular cities like Bemidji, Grand Rapids, and Detroit Lakes. They are fairly distributed in the state and are one of the most hunted games.

Minnesota Black Bear Hunting

Black bears hunting in Minnesota takes place in the timbered regions of the state. They also inhabit swampy, brushy, and sloughy areas of the state. In some WMA in Minnesota, you can hunt black bears by baiting them first, before taking them from an elevated stand or blind.

Minnesota Turkey Hunting

Turkey hunting in Minnesota takes place in a lot of WMA and public hunting lands in the state. Hunters with access to private lands can also take turkeys there. You are also allowed to take turkeys in private lands that do not have any post prohibiting hunting.

Minnesota Bobcat Hunting

Bobcat hunting in Minnesota used to take place in every part of the state before, but these days, they are rarely found in the southern part of the state. They mostly inhabit woodland areas in counties found in the north and northeastern part of Minnesota. Bobcats are an adaptable game in Minnesota and they live on various lands regardless of their use.

Minnesota Pheasant Hunting

Pheasant hunting in Minnesota takes place in public hunting lands in the state. Some of the best places for pheasant hunters to start are Montevideo, Pipestone, and Marshall counties. These counties have the ideal WMA for pheasant hunting. Also, Minnesota WMAs that have rivers are perfect for pheasant hunting season.

Minnesota Duck Hunting

Duck hunting in Minnesota takes place in wetlands of the state because they are typical waterfowls. However, real duck hunters in the state know that one of the best place to take ducks is the Pine Resort in the Northwood of the state.

Minnesota Moose Hunting

Moose inhabit the forest areas of Minnesota that are created by forest fires, windstorms, and logging, especially in the northeast part of the state. Moose hunting in Minnesota northwest takes place in woodlots and farm field areas. But because of the reduction in numbers, Moose hunting has been suspended in the state.

Minnesota Elk Hunting

Elk hunting in Minnesota mostly takes place in counties located in the northwest part of the state like Marshall and Kittson. The state is renowned for elk hunting in the USA because of the presence of 3 elk herds.

Minnesota Fox Hunting

Red foxes are the common type of fox in Minnesota, and it is evenly distributed in the state. They can also be found in suburbs and the twin cities. Gray fox hunting in Minnesota is also quite common, they inhabit forested and woodland areas from the southeast to the northwest of the state.

Minnesota Shooting Ranges for Hunting

Shooting ranges open to the public in Minnesota include the following:

  • Ahlman's Range
  • Kanabec Conservation Club
  • Bald Eagle Sportsmen's Association
  • Bemidji Trap & Skeet
  • Lake of the Woods Rod & Gun Club
  • Buffalo Gun Club
  • East Chain Sportsman Club
  • Fergus Falls Rifle & Pistol Club
  • Fort Thunder Public Shooting Center
  • Winona Sportsmen's Club
  • Wealthwood Rod and Gun Club
  • Warroad Lost River Sportsman Complex
  • United Northern Sportsmen
  • Southern Minnesota Sportsman's Club
  • Rice Creek Hunting & Recreation
  • West Branch Gun Club
  • Renville Rangers Shooting Club
  • Owatonna Gun Club
  • Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club
  • Lakes Trading Co
  • Pelican River Public Shooting Club
  • The Pintail Club Shooting Sports

Minnesota Hunting Lands for Sale and Lease

Hunting lands for sale in Minnesota include the following:

  • Breezy Point, Minnesota (Crow Wing County) 1.06 acres.
  • Swatara, Minnesota (Aitkin County) 80 acres.
  • Sandstone, Minnesota (Pine County) 80 acres.
  • Isle, Minnesota (Mille Lacs County) 80.58 acres.
  • Hanley Falls, Minnesota (Yellow Medicine County) 36 acres.
  • Winnebago, Minnesota (Faribault County) 331.01 acres.
  • Zumbro Falls, Minnesota (Wabasha County) 178.14 acres.
  • Park Rapids, Minnesota (Hubbard County) 89.65 acres.
  • Lanesboro, Minnesota (Fillmore County) 13 acres.
  • Minnesota Lake, Minnesota (Waseca County) 115.14 acres.
  • Lanesboro, Minnesota (Fillmore County) 13 acres.
  • Baudette, Minnesota (Lake of the Woods County) 80 acres.

Hunting lands for lease in Minnesota include the following:

  • Prime Wisconsin Whitetail Hunting Land in Rusk County, 120-Acre.
  • White-tailed deer in Anoka County Coon Lake area, 40 acres.
  • Various Games on-field and woods mix in Kanabec County, 220 acres.
  • WI Land for Lease in Polk County, 40 acres.
  • White-tailed deer, turkey, and duck hunting in Steam country, 700 acres.
  • Lease in the north of Taylors Falls, Polk County, 150 acres.
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