With just over a month to go until firearms opener in Minnesota, I'm starting to get the itch to sit in a tree all day. Deer hunting opener is a holiday in this state, and I'm ready to celebrate. The DNR does have some new regulations for 2020 to keep in mind.

A lot of the new regulations for 2020 have to do with Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and COVID-19. All CWD testing will be on a voluntary basis for fall 2020 to minimize the spread of COVID. Instead of staffing sampling stations, the DNR will provide self-service stations where hunters can properly mark, tag, and drop deer heads while social distancing.

  • Special CWD regulations, including voluntary disease testing and carcass movement restrictions, are in effect in a number of areas.
  • Due to the continued expansion of the CWD management zones, antler point restrictions are temporarily canceled statewide. In addition, party-hunting (also known as cross-tagging) for antlered bucks is allowed statewide.
  • The early antlerless deer season has been expanded to include more deer permit areas.
  • Experimental regulations allowing hunters to leave portable tree stands overnight in some northwestern Minnesota WMAs have been discontinued.
  • Some deer permit area boundaries have changed. Be sure to check the map to double-check the boundaries and be sure where you hunt hasn't changed.

In addition to these new regulations, the ban on deer feeding has been expanded. Deer feeding is prohibited in areas where Cronic Wasting Disease has been found in farmed deer, and includes all over Carlton, Chisago, Douglas, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Pope, and Stearns counties. In addition to feeding, deer attractants are prohibited in counties in close proximity to the ones listed. Get all the information on that in the Hutung and Trapping handbook for 2020.

Have a safe and lucky hunting season, we can't wait to see your trophy deer!

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