Minnesota deer hunting season changes for 2023

Deer hunting licenses are now on sale in Minnesota, and there are some new ways to hunt this year, as well as some new rules to be aware of.

Crossbows during archery season

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.

Deer stand rules

A hunter in a fabric or synthetic ground blind 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 material that is at least 144 square inches (12x12 inches) on each side of the blind. This regulation applies year-round on all public land.

Nontoxic ammo only in special hunts

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. More details here.

Lower limits in northern Minnesota

Hunters can expect to see fewer deer in north-central and northeastern Minnesota. The DNR increased the bag limit or lottery permits in 12 deer permit areas this year, but 38 areas have reduced bag limits or lottery permits. Eighty areas have the same designation as last year.

"Hunters in most of Minnesota can expect a season similar to last year in terms of how many deer they can harvest," said Barb Keller, Minnesota DNR big game program leader. "The lower bag limits in northeast and north-central Minnesota aim to allow deer populations to recover after back-to-back severe winters

Minnesota deer hunting season dates

  • 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
  • Late CWD hunt (DPAs 605, 643, 645, 646, 647, 648 and 649): Dec. 15-17

Deer hunting licenses on sale now

All deer licenses went on sale Aug. 1 and can be purchased at any time before or during the season.

After deer season is open, all licenses and permits are valid the same day of purchase if purchased before legal shooting hours. If the license or permit is purchased after legal shooting hours have begun, it is valid the following day.

A person may purchase no more than one firearm, muzzleloader and archery deer license in a calendar year. Bonus, early antlerless season and disease management permits may be purchased in addition to regular licenses. Bonus permits may be purchased throughout the season but must be in possession when taking deer. Regular licenses and bonus permits may be used in any order.

A person may not take or tag deer without the appropriate license or permit. The term "take" includes attempting to take deer, deer drives, spotting or otherwise assisting another person in taking deer.