DNR Announces 2005 Deer Season Changes

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This fall, hunters will have more opportunity than ever before to harvest deer, thanks to regulation changes announced by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The changes, which include an early antlerless season, zone realignments and the creation of a metro deer-hunting zone, were discussed at 15 public meetings held across the state this past winter. More than 800 comments were considered in finalizing the regulations.

"We hope to increase deer harvest in areas with high deer populations," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator. "To do this, we're offering hunters more flexibility with deer licenses and more hunting opportunities."

The changes begin to take effect with the Sept. 17 opening of archery deer hunting. Firearms deer hunting begins statewide on Nov. 5. The muzzleloader season starts Nov. 26.


The DNR will hold two-day antlerless only hunts Oct. 15-16 to lower deer populations in permit areas 225, 227, 236 (north metro) and 209, 210, 401, 405, 406 (northwestern Minnesota). Hunters need a valid firearms license for the zone and may purchase up to two early antlerless deer permits ($14 each) for use only during the special antlerless season. Two deer may be taken in the special antlerless season and would be in addition to the statewide bag limit of five.

"This is a tool to help landowners manage deer populations," Cornicelli said. "Ultimately it is up to the landowner to decide if their deer population is high enough to warrant allowing additional firearms hunters on the property." Dates for the hunt - typically the lowest archery harvest weekend during September and October - were chosen to minimize the effect on bow hunters and avoid conflict with the school conference break.


Permit areas 401 through 409 will become part of Zone 2. This will create one continuous nine-day season instead of the current split seasons of two and four days. In addition, the following forested permit areas in Zone 2 would be moved to Zone 1, creating a 16-day season: 205, 211, 214, 283 and 284. Hunters interested in hunting adjacent Zone 2 permit areas can purchase a multi-zone or all-season deer license. Permit areas will be renumbered in the 2005 Hunting Regulations Handbook to reflect the zone change.


To increase hunting opportunity and better manage the deer population in the Twin Cities area, the DNR will create a metro deer zone (permit areas 228 and 337). The firearms season in this zone will extend from the start of the general season (Nov. 5) to the end of the 3B season (23 consecutive days). Any unfilled firearms license will be valid in the metro zone.

There will be no special permit or authorization required to participate, but hunters will need to register their deer in the metro zone. Shotguns with slugs or muzzleloaders are the only legal firearms in the metro deer zone.


This allows hunters to tag deer on both their regular archery and regular firearms licenses (including muzzleloader), but only one buck will be allowed. Previously, a hunter could purchase both an archery and firearms license but could only fill one of those licenses.