Minnesota Deer Notes – October

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minnesota department of natural resources

Minnesota Deer Notes

Oct. 15, 2020

The statewide youth season and the expanded early antlerless-only season kick off today! In this month’s issue, get details on those seasons, find answers to popular hunting questions, learn about upcoming events and more.

youth wearing blaze orange and camo with harvested deer

Youth deer season arrives

Minnesota’s youth deer season will continue statewide for a second year today through Sunday, Oct. 18. Get out and make some memories and remember your blaze orange or pink — all hunters, trappers and mentors need it during the season. Complete youth season details are available on the youth deer hunting page.

white-tailed deer in a field

Early antlerless-only deer season begins

Hunters can participate in an early antlerless-only deer season today through Sunday, Oct. 18. This year the season has expanded to include more deer permit areas in central and southeastern Minnesota. Permit areas open during the hunt are 213, 214, 215, 341, 342, 343, 344, 604, 605, 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649 and 655. The DNR offers this opportunity to hunters in an effort to manage local deer herds. Details and regulations are on the DNR deer hunting page.

CWD 2020 sampling areas

Read up on CWD regulations 

Minnesota deer hunters, please be aware of chronic wasting disease regulations and sampling as you plan ahead for upcoming deer seasons, including the antlerless-only and youth deer seasons that take place from Oct. 15-18, and the opening weekend of firearms deer season Saturday, Nov. 7, and Sunday, Nov. 8.

For the 2020 hunting season, the DNR has shifted to voluntary sampling for all designated CWD areas. Hunters may submit samples from their deer at unstaffed sampling stations.

Hunters planning to transport harvested deer should also familiarize themselves with the deer carcass movement restrictions that are in place for certain areas of the state.

Check out additional resources the DNR has to help you participate, including an interactive map that highlights both sampling stations and dumpsters for carcass disposal, and a webpage that walks you through the steps on how to submit a sample.

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Hunting FAQs

Wondering what hunting-related questions people are asking this time of year? Our DNR Information Center highlighted some of the top questions they've been receiving lately — by email or phone (651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367) — and we have the answers below.

Early Antlerless Season questions

Q: Do I need an early antlerless permit or do I need just my main license?
A: You must have an early antlerless permit in addition to your main license (whether it is an archery, firearm or muzzleloader license).

Q: If I have just an archery main license, can I use a firearm during this season?
A: No. You must use the weapon that matches the main license used to purchase your early antlerless permit.

Q: Can an adult hunt with the youth hunter if they are in an early antlerless DPA?
A: Yes, with the correct license. Adults with youth hunters who are participating in the statewide youth deer season may hunt in an early antlerless DPA if they have the appropriate license and early antlerless permit.

Q: Can adults party hunt during this season?
A: Yes. Adults may party hunt with other adults during the early antlerless season. Adult members of a party cannot take antlerless deer for youth under age 18.

Q: Can I use bonus or disease management permits during this season or only early antlerless permits?
A: If you have at least one valid early antlerless permit, you may use bonus permits (or disease management permits in 600-series areas).

Youth Deer Season questions

Q: What license does my child need? The license agent said all the licenses he/she sees are for the November season.
A: Participating youth must have a valid youth firearms deer hunting license. Youth age 10, 11 and 12 must possess a free license. Youth age 12 and older must also have a firearms safety certificate or apprentice hunter validation.

Q: If the youth hunter harvests a deer during this season, can they hunt during the regular firearms deer season?
A: Yes. If the youth uses the tag from their youth firearms license to tag a deer, they could purchase a bonus permits and harvest additional antlerless deer in managed, intensive or unlimited antlerless areas during the November season. They could also use bonus permits or disease management permits to harvest antlerless deer in any 600-series area. Youth could also party hunt during the November season, although adults are not allowed to take antlerless deer for youth under 18.

Q: Can a youth hunter harvest a buck during the youth season if they are in an early antlerless deer permit area or lottery area?
A: Yes. A youth can harvest a buck in any permit area. The youth must tag the buck using their youth license tag. They would not be allowed to harvest another buck with a regular firearm for the remaining deer seasons. The youth could harvest additional bucks under an archery or muzzleloader license in deer permit areas 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649 and 655.

Q: Is this season open statewide or are there areas that a not open to this hunt?
A: The season is open statewide except for Itasca State Park (deer permit area 287), which is closed during this season. The Whitewater Game Refuge is open for youth hunting, but closed to adults hunting the early antlerless season.

CWD questions

Q: Do I have to get my deer tested this year?
A: The short answer is no, as the DNR has shifted to voluntary sampling at unstaffed sampling stations for all designated CWD areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These stations facilitate social distancing. While sampling is not required, it is a crucial component in helping us monitor the spread of CWD in wild deer, so the DNR is encouraging hunters to submit their deer for sampling in these areas.

Q: How long will it take to get my test results?
A: Typically, test results are posted online between 7 and 14 days. It can take longer during certain points of the season when higher volumes of samples are shipped to the lab, but we post results to the website as quickly as possible.

Q: What do I do about testing if I harvest a trophy deer that I want to get mounted?
A: You have a couple of options. The DIY option is to provide lymph nodes at a self-service sampling station after extracting them from the deer, caping the deer or skull capping the deer. Otherwise, bring your deer to get it sampled at a listed taxidermist who will submit lymph nodes to the DNR, or make an appointment with a local DNR wildlife office in your CWD sampling area to have samples taken. Find out more here.

Q: Where do I take my deer to get tested and where are the dumpsters located in DPA 605, the south metro management zone?
A: Check out the south metro CWD management zone webpage, which has full details about sampling stations and the locations of dumpsters. Each sampling area, whether a management zone, control zone or surveillance area, has its own webpage listing pertinent information for that area.

Q: Is there a list of processors in my area and are they taking carcasses?
A: Sampling area webpages include a list of some meat processors in that particular area, noting which have said they are taking carcasses. These are not complete lists, and hunters are encouraged to call any meat processor, whether listed or not, in advance to make sure they are taking venison this season.

CWD public meeting recording

If you were you unable to attend the Sept. 15 virtual public meeting about chronic wasting disease in the south metro area, you can watch the recording online. Check out the CWD Resources webpage for information about this and other past public meetings, as well as additional resources about chronic wasting disease.

DNR is testing for industrial chemicals in deer

The DNR began testing liver and muscle samples from deer to help determine whether industrial chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are present in deer near two PFAS-contaminated sites: the Duluth airport south of Wild Rice Lake and in portions of the east metro area of the Twin Cities.

Learn more about the efforts in this news release.

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Webinar series: Chronic wasting disease

There are still two more CWD webinars in the series from the Minnesota Center for Prion Research and Outreach at the University of Minnesota! Register at mnpro.umn.edu/outreach for either or both of the sessions, which include presentations and a Q&A with representatives from the center, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. Each webinar runs from 6-7 p.m.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 21: The Human Factor
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27: Minnesota Management

CWD testing outside of sampling areas

Hunting outside of a sampling area? You may collect a lymph node sample from your deer and submit it for testing to a veterinary diagnostic laboratory at either University of Minnesota or Colorado State University for a fee. Costs and details about how to submit for each university are available on their websites.

Get complete CWD information

Deer hunters, please regularly check the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd for the most recent information.

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