State officials ask Minnesotans to limit hunting camps to household members

As hunters prepare to head into the woods for the start of firearm season in Minnesota, state officials are asking them to take some steps to prevent COVID-19 spread.

"This is a ritual that’s very important to me, my family and a lot of Minnesotans," said hunter Mark Norquist.

It's a time-honored tradition that Mark Norquist never misses. But, as we caught up with him on his way up north Thursday, he acknowledged that this season opener will look very different from the rest.

"The nature of the activity doesn’t change, it's just the social," said Norquist.

With a current spike in COVID-19 numbers in Minnesota, the DNR is encouraging deer hunters to limit those in your hunting camp to members of your household.

"Like a lot of things this year, COVID-19 is going to put a different twist on it," said DNR Enforcement Division Director Rod Smith.

As health officials continue to warn about the risk of social gatherings.

"We’re asking people to strategize and modify deer camp this year to include some safety precautions," said Smith.

While Norquist is with his buddies, he says they’re doing things differently just to be safe.

"That’s why I’ll be staying in my camper, other people have campers and that’s what we’re doing to keep the tradition going, making sure we’ll be out in the woods and do this hunt but do it safely," he explained.

The firearm season officially starts this Saturday.