Once Minnesota’s archery deer season opens Saturday, Sept. 16, hunters will be clad in camouflage sitting in tree stand perches or concealed spots on the ground, watching and enjoying time outdoors.
As about 100,000 Minnesota archery hunters look forward to the season, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is encouraging them to make a plan for the season by considering safety, hunting regulations, chronic wasting disease, and steps they need to take to process their deer.
“This archery season is the first time we’ll have crossbows allowed for all hunters, and there are a number of other regulation changes that hunters need to be aware of before they head out,” said Barbara Keller, Minnesota DNR big game program leader. “It’s critical for hunters to consider these changes, think ahead, and make a plan for a safe, successful and enjoyable season.”
Crossbows are allowed for all deer hunters with an archery license, a new change signed into law this year. Additionally, synthetic ground blinds on public lands are required to have blaze orange covering during firearms seasons, some chronic wasting disease zones have changed, and some harvest limits have changed. Many deer permit areas in northeast and north-central Minnesota have reduced harvest limits, while DPAs in south-central Minnesota have increased harvest limits.
Archery hunters will be asked whether they harvested their deer with a crossbow or vertical bow when they register their deer. Before this season, crossbows were only allowed for hunters 60 years or older, individuals with a disability who had a valid permit, or any hunter with a valid firearms license hunting during the firearms season.
The blaze orange on ground blinds change applies during open firearms seasons on public land and requires that fabric or synthetic blinds must have a blaze orange safety covering on top of the blind that is visible from all directions, or a patch made of blaze orange that is at least 144 square inches (12×12 inches) on each side of the blind.
Hunters should know the DPA number of the area they plan to hunt prior to buying a license, and ensure they understand CWD regulations and sampling options for that particular area. Archery hunters can use the DPA lookup tool on the Minnesota DNR’s make a plan for deer season webpage at mndnr.gov/deerhunt to check if the DPA they plan to hunt has carcass movement restrictions, or has deer feeding or attractant bans in place.
CWD sampling options at mndnr.gov/cwd/cwd-testing.html include requesting a mail-in kit at mndnr.gov/cwd/cwd-kits.html before hunting or utilizing kits obtained but not used last year. Hunters may participate in the partner sampling program at mndnr.gov/cwd/cwd-partners.html. Hunters can also make an appointment to have their deer sampled at Minnesota DNR area wildlife offices. Contact information is available on the Minnesota DNR website at mndnr.gov/areas/wildlife.
Archery hunters are also reminded that blaze orange clothing is required during the youth and early antlerless seasons from Thursday, Oct. 19, through Sunday, Oct. 22, and during any other open firearms season. Deer hunting regulations are available on the Minnesota DNR’s deer hunting webpage at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer and in the hunting and trapping regulations booklet.
Deer season dates for 2023
• Archery: Saturday, Sept. 16, through Sunday, Dec. 31.
• Youth and early antlerless: Thursday, Oct. 19, through Sunday, Oct. 22.
• Firearms: Saturday, Nov. 4, with various closing dates depending on a hunter’s location.
• Muzzleloader: Saturday, Nov. 25, through Sunday, Dec. 10.
• Late CWD hunt (DPAs 605, 643, 645, 646, 647, 648 and 649) Dec. 15-17.