Minnesota’s New Statewide Four-Day Deer Season for Youth Hunters

Youth hunters ages 10 to 17 can take one buck or doe during Minnesota’s new Oct. 17-20 whitetail season.

Minnesota’s New Statewide Four-Day Deer Season for Youth Hunters

For the first time in the state’s history, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will offer a special, youth-only statewide firearms deer hunt. The four-day hunt was planned for October 17-20 (Thursday through Sunday), which overlaps MEA (Minnesota Educator Academy) weekend; due to MEA, kids already have October 17 and 18 off from school.

The special hunt is statewide except for Deer Permit Area (DPA) 287, which includes Itasca State Park. In the past, the youth season was available only in the southeast, northwest and Twin Cities metro permit areas. 

“We heard a lot of support for a statewide youth deer hunting season,” said Minnesota DNR’s Barbara Keller. “We’re excited to make it easier for parents, relatives or trusted adults to share their hunting knowledge and traditions with the next generation of deer hunters.”

This special hunt enables youths to pursue whitetails a few weeks before the state’s regular firearms deer season, which takes place during early and mid-November. Because the whitetail rut occurs in November during Minnesota’s regular firearms season, youth hunters probably won’t see bucks chasing does, but the weather will likely be much more comfortable. 

Hunt Highlights:

  • Youth ages 10 to 17 may take one either-sex deer by firearms statewide, including in the Whitewater State Game Refuge.
  • Participant numbers are not limited, and there is no special permit.
  • An adult parent/guardian/mentor 18 or older must accompany youth ages 10 to 13 at all times during the hunt. The adult does not need to be licensed.
  • Blaze orange/pink requirements apply to all hunters, trappers and adult mentors in areas open during this season.
  • The accompanying adult cannot hunt, and party hunting is not allowed (youth must tag their own deer) except during the early antlerless season with the correct license.
  • Youth 12 years of age and older must have a firearms safety certificate or apprentice hunter validation.
  • Participating youth must possess a valid firearm deer license. Youth ages 10, 11 and 12 must possess a free license.
  • The bag limit is one deer only. Youth may use their regular license or a bonus permit if they take an antlerless deer, except in a "bucks only” DPA.
  • Bucks must be tagged with the youth’s regular license.
  • Participation does not affect eligibility for the regular deer season, however, the harvested deer counts against the youth’s annual statewide bag limit.
  • Deer permit area designations for the youth season are the same as for the regular firearms deer season. For example, a deer permit area designated as Hunter’s Choice during the firearms season is Hunter’s Choice during the youth season.

For more information, visit the Minnesota DNR’s deer hunting page at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Hunting licenses went on sale August 1 and are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at (888) 646-6367, or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.

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