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Deer Hunting Regulations



  • Hunters may not take deer with the aid or use of bait.
  • Ensure you are using legal equipment (PDF) for taking big game.
  • Hunters using firearms to take big game must use legal ammunition.
  • Legal bucks have one antler at least 3 inches long.
  • Fawn bucks, sometimes called button bucks, are not legal bucks.
  • Antlerless deer are deer without an antler at least 3 inches long.
  • Know the difference between a deer and an elk.

New for 2023

  • Hunters who purchase an archery deer license may take deer with a crossbow throughout the archery deer season. Archery hunters may be asked at registration if they harvested their deer with a crossbow or vertical bow. Crossbow users must be 10 or older.
  • Blaze orange is required on all ground blinds (PDF) used at any time on public land.
  • Deer permit area 343 is now 643, deer permit area 344 is now 644 and deer permit area 184 is now 684. All have been added to the CWD management zone.
  • Members of a hunting party may not tag a legal buck or antlerless deer for any member of their party hunting with a youth license.
  • Portable deer stands may be left overnight in certain wildlife management areas in the northwest (PDF).
  • A licensed hunter who lawfully harvests an escaped farmed deer or elk is not liable to the owner but they must notify the DNR within 24 hours. If you harvest a deer or elk with ear tags or other identification, contact a conservation officer.
  • Hunters may only possess and use nontoxic ammunition when participating in a special hunt or disease management hunt in a Minnesota state park or Scientific and Natural Area or in a regular hunt in a Scientific and Natural Area in which hunting is allowed. See details (PDF) and a view the list of SNAs (PDF) open to hunting.

Special hunts

DNR, municipalities and organizations across Minnesota offer opportunities to hunt at special times and in areas – including state parks – that might regularly be closed to hunting.

Participation in these hunts is limited and often requires special registration. Consult the information contained in regulations book (PDF) and the links below to register and participate in these hunts.

Earn-a-buck regulations apply during some special hunts. The regulation requires that a hunter harvest and tag an anterless deer with his or her own tag before harvesting a antlered deer.