More than 400,000 deer hunters are preparing for the firearms deer season that opens Saturday, Nov. 4. The season offers opportunities to spend time outdoors with friends and family, find adventure and put venison in the freezer.

Deer hunting is the primary tool used to manage deer populations, and hunters help keep deer numbers in line with population goals across the state. Managing deer populations contributes to the overall health of Minnesota’s landscapes, natural systems and economy.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ wildlife managers report that there should be good opportunities to harvest deer in most areas.

Hunters should know the deer permit area (DPA) number for where they plan to hunt prior to buying a license and ensure they understand chronic wasting disease regulations and sampling options for that area. Hunters can find these details using the DPA lookup tool on the Minnesota DNR’s make a plan for deer season webpage (

Deer hunters are required to have deer 1 year or older sampled for CWD in all CWD management and surveillance zones during the opening weekend of the firearms A season Saturday, Nov. 4, through Sunday, Nov. 5, and during late CWD hunts Friday, Dec. 15, through Sunday, Dec. 17. Additional information about CWD requirements and sampling options can be found at the Minnesota DNR’s CWD webpage (

Northwestern deer report

Deer populations are mostly stable in northwestern Minnesota. While last winter was moderate to severe in some areas, especially around and north of Bemidji, the deer population fared well over the winter throughout most of the northwest part of the state.

Deer have been feeding on a bumper acorn crop this year. In low-lying areas, if dry conditions persist, hunters will have easier access to ditches and wetlands.

Many DPAs in northwestern Minnesota have two- or three-deer harvest limits, and in DPAs 111 and 203 hunters are only allowed to harvest bucks. Some DPAs have lower harvest limits because of concerns about the last two winters’ effect on local deer populations, and the lower deer limits will give deer populations a chance to grow in these areas.

Hunters should also know that CWD sampling will be mandatory during the opening weekend of the regular firearms deer hunting season in parts of three areas of the region, including the East Grand Forks-Crookston-Climax area in DPA 661, as well as the Bemidji area in DPA 684. This year, mandatory CWD sampling will also occur in northwest Minnesota’s elk range in parts of Kittson, Marshall and Roseau counties — although CWD has not been detected in these areas, the DNR is sampling there to assess the risk of disease in local deer and elk.

Deer hunting information is available on the Minnesota DNR’s deer hunting webpage (