Firearms deer hunting season opens in Minnesota, DNR urges safety

With the firearms deer hunting season opening Saturday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has some safety tips for hunters. 

As a half-million hunters prepare for this hunting season, safety should be their number one priority, the DNR says. The DNR states there are four primary ways for hunters to ensure a safe and successful hunt. Hunters should practice climbing in and out of tree stands, brush up on safe firearm handling before a hunt and wear blaze clothing, so hunters are visible to other humans. Hunters should also tell someone where they’re hunting and when they plan to return, the DNR says. 

According to the DNR, the leading cause of injury among hunters is accidents involving tree stands. National data show one in three hunters who use tree stands will fall and sustain a serious injury.

The number of hunting-related firearm fatalities has dropped significantly in the past 60 years, but the DNR says firearm safety is still extremely important to keep up with. 

DNR hunting safety tips 

  • Check your tree stand before the season starts
  • Make sure your safety harness is in working order before you hunt, and always wear it while in the stand and while climbing in and out.
  • Always maintain three points of contact with the steps or ladder.
  • Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.
  • Always control the muzzle.
  • Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.
  • Only put your finger on the trigger when you are ready to shoot.
  • Wear blaze clothing when it’s required.

The DNR made some changes to their regulations this season, including changes to deer stand rules, using nontoxic ammo and crossbows during archery season.

"Safe hunts don’t just happen by chance," said Colonel Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. "They happen when hunters focus on the task at-hand, whether that’s climbing into their tree stand, ensuring the shot they’re about to take is a safe one, or unloading their firearms and putting them away safely at the end of the day."

According to Explore Minnesota, one of the best places in the state for hunting is the bluffs of southeast Minnesota. Those wanting more of an open terrain should head to the southwest part of the state, and if hunters want a mix of prairie and forest they should head to central Minnesota. Explore Minnesota also says northern Minnesota is perfect for hunters who want thick woods to traverse while hunting. 

Firearm deer hunting season is from Nov. 4-19.