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DNR announces deer hunting seasons, CWD sampling changes

Licenses are available starting Monday, Aug. 1 and 2022 regulations are available on the DNR website.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Editor's note: The video above first aired March 4, 2022.

Summer is moving awfully fast, with the Minnesota State Fair, the beginning of school and now deer hunting season in the crosshairs. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding hunters that 2022 deer licenses are available beginning Monday, Aug. 1 and that regulations for the coming season are available for viewing on the DNR website.

Overall, wildlife management specialists say Minnesota's deer population is healthy and stable with plenty of opportunities for harvest. Hunters will have more license options for early antlerless deer, and there will be increased bag limits or lottery permits in 28 zones. 

“Hunters in 20% of our deer permit areas will have increased opportunities for harvest, and opportunities in 70% of DPAs remain unchanged from last year," explains Kelly Straka, wildlife section manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "In some areas of northern Minnesota, severe winter conditions have impacted low deer numbers, so hunter opportunity in these areas is designed to help stabilize or increase those populations.”

The deer harvest is broken down into a number of different seasons: 

  • Archery: Saturday, Sept. 17, through Saturday, Dec. 31
  • Youth and early antlerless: Thursday, Oct. 20, through Sunday, Oct. 23
  • Firearms: Saturday, Nov. 5, with various closing dates depending on a hunter’s deer permit area
  • Muzzleloader: Saturday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Dec. 11

There are also a number of special hunts that Minnesotans can register for, involving times and areas that deer hunting might not normally be allowed. Information on those hunts can also be accessed on a special DNR web page.

New in 2022 are enhanced options in the DNR's chronic wasting disease sampling program. Hunters can now:

  • Submit samples of their deer through a number of taxidermists who are partnering with the DNR
  • Drop off a deer head at any number of self-service sampling stations set up across the state
  • Use a mail order kit to send in lymph nodes from a harvested deer for testing
  •  Make an appointment at area wildlife offices within designated CWD zones

CWD sample submission will be mandatory in all CWD zones during the opening weekend of the firearms A season (Nov. 5-6) for all hunter harvested deer one year or older. 

"The DNR’s commitment to sound surveillance and aggressive management of CWD has not changed," insisted Straka. "What is different is how we’re accomplishing that from place to place and improving options for hunters to help us with disease surveillance.”

The DNR says locations of CWD sampling partners and DNR-staffed sampling stations will be regularly updated throughout the fall.

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