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Learn About Minnesota Hunting Licenses

A Minnesota hunting license is a gateway to a variety of outdoor sports, including hunting, fishing and trapping. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issues licenses and regulates and enforces hunting permit laws and issues in Minnesota. It also manages over one million acres of public land, much of which is available for hunting in season. Permits are available to residents and non-residents who have completed the necessary safety and identification prerequisites upon application.

Applicants can request a DNR license specific to a single kind of game or purchase combination passes for multiple types. Permits can be short term, annual or lifetime in duration. Youth nine years of age and older may hunt with appropriate supervision and licensing. There is no maximum age cutoff for hunters.

Getting a DNR hunting license is a relatively quick and easy process, but does require applicants to complete a few key steps. Applicants can speed up the process by carefully reviewing Minnesota’s hunting regulations before applying. This will help them identify what type of license they need, where to apply for it and whether they need to complete safety training to qualify for a permit. Special rules and exemptions may apply to hunters who are young, engaged in military service or disabled.

How to Get a Hunting License in Minnesota

How to get a hunting license in Minnesota is a question explored by the more than 500,000 hunters who apply for the permit each year. With more than 100 species of game and over 1 million acres of wildlife management area, the state offers generous opportunities to hunters of all ages. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) allows qualifying residents to buy a hunting license online, by phone or in person at participating partner sites. Not all licenses are available for purchase upon request. For some high-demand or low-availability types of game, hunters may apply for hunting privileges only by putting their names in a statewide lottery.

Online hunting license purchases, like those made in person, require applicants to demonstrate that they met all Minnesota requirements for these permits. These include age, residency, verifiable identification and, in some cases, hunter education safety training.

Types of Hunting Licenses in Minnesota

From a lifetime hunting license to a 72-hour temporary hunting license, Minnesota offers a wide array of hunting permits designed to meet hunters’ diverse needs and preferences. The current permit system is designed to accommodate differences in hunters’ ages, schedules, game of choice and taste in weapons. Most applicants find that it is in their best interest to carefully review the types of hunting licenses available to them before completing the application process.

Understanding which type of license is most appropriate for one’s needs is particularly important in light of the fact that, except in cases of extreme or military-related extenuating circumstances, all hunting permits sales are final. Hunters who accidentally purchase the wrong type of license may be able to convert it to a more appropriate form, but the ability to do so is not guaranteed. T

Hunter Safety and Education Courses in Minnesota

Completing a Minnesota hunter safety course is a prerequisite for getting a hunting license for most hunters in the state. Although exemptions allow certain hunters to skip standard safety courses, the Department of Natural Resources encourages all hunters to participate to increase their safety and the safety of others. Permits to carry handguns and any courses taken in the pursuit of that authorization do not count as and should not be confused with hunting courses or a hunting certificate.

Due to high demand, DNR approved courses consistently fill up quickly. Prospective hunters who do not sign up early are regularly wait-listed until slots open up in a future class. Failure to find a place in a class can delay hunters’ ability to purchase their permits and engage in the hunting season of their choice.

Minnesota Hunting Laws and Regulations

To keep hunters and other residents safe during Minnesota hunting seasons, laws establish and enforce strict rules on all aspects of hunting and associated activities. This includes the use of public lands, the transportation and handling of firearms and the tracking and testing of game, among other aspects. The Department of Natural Resources updates these regulations regularly to address new areas of concern and to keep existing rules relevant and effective. 

While hunters education courses cover many crucial hunting laws, hunters of all ages and experience levels need to review DNR materials annually. It is the only way to stay on top of essential changes and prevent transgressions, injuries and deaths. Individuals, families and organizations may also wish to review hunting restrictions even if they are not hunters themselves to remain abreast of limitations and legal mandates related to the sharing, storage and sale of animal parts which may affect them.