Opening Dates Announced for 2004 Hunting Seasons

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Opening dates for many of the 2004 Minnesota hunting seasons were announced this week by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The dates are being announced now for the benefit of those who must establish vacation or hunting plans well in advance. Although these dates are tentative, pending final approval in June, it is unlikely they will change.

SMALL GAME General small game, including grouse, Sept. 18

gray partridge, rabbits and squirrels Pheasant Oct. 16

Prairie chicken opener Oct. 23

Spring wild turkey (first season) April 14

Fall wild turkey (first season) Oct. 13


Bear Sept. 1

Deer - archery Sept. 18

Deer - firearms Nov. 6

Deer - muzzleloader Nov. 27

Moose - northeast zone Oct. 2


Fox, raccoon, badger, opossum to be announced

Mink, muskrat, beaver, otter (North Zone) Oct. 23

Mink, muskrat, beaver, otter (South Zone) Oct. 30

Fisher, marten, bobcat Nov. 27


Early Canada goose Sept. 4

Youth Waterfowl Day to be announced

General duck and goose to be announced

Rails, snipe Sept. 1 Woodcock Sept. 25

Crow March 1-31; July 15-Oct. 15

The waterfowl season opener will not be finalized until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publishes proposed migratory bird hunting frameworks this summer.

The DNR is also proposing a rule change to re-establish partial closed seasons on red fox and raccoon during the spring and summer, and to standardize those seasons with badger and opossum. Additional details on the proposed rule will be announced in early 2004.

The DNR will be taking comments on wildlife hunting and trapping seasons and proposed season changes during February and March. Details on proposed season changes and meeting dates will be announced in late January. Additional details on season lengths, quotas and bag limits will be announced next summer, after the 2004 seasons are finalized.