DNR urges hunters to make a plan, stay safe

The Minnesota DNR is anticipating around 400,000 hunters ahead of this Saturday’s firearms deer opener.

“A safe and enjoyable hunt starts with good preparation. To assist hunters with that preparation, we’ve put a wealth of general and area-specific information on our website,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen.

“We hope these tools contribute to a safe and successful deer season with family and friends.”

  1. Buy a license. It starts with deciding which deer permit area you will be hunting so you can buy the appropriate license.
  2. Get your deer tested if required. Invest in the health of Minnesota’s wild deer by participating in chronic wasting disease If you’ll be hunting in a CWD surveillance, control or management zone, sampling is mandatory opening weekend Nov. 6-7 for all deer one year of age or older.
  3. Know the regulations. Read up on the regulations for your deer permit area, including how to register deer and how harvested deer must be handled and transported in certain areas to help prevent the spread of disease.
  4. Know where you will have your deer If you plan to use a meat processor, contact them ahead of time to be sure they’re accepting whole deer from hunters this year. If you plan to butcher your own deer, you must properly dispose of the carcass (head and spinal column). We have videos to help you process your own deer and assist those hunting in a CWD control or management zone.
  5. Be safe. Practice the four tenets of firearms safety, know how to set up and use the tree stand safely, wear a safety harness and wear blaze clothing.
  6. Enjoy the hunt! Have fun, make memories and keep the tradition alive. Share deer camp and deer hunting photos directly with the DNR or on your social media accounts using the hashtag #DeerCampMN and #HuntMN.

It’s been nearly three years since the last hunting-related firearms death in the state, the longest stretch since the DNR began tracking these tragedies.

The number of hunting-related firearms fatalities has dropped significantly since the 1960s and 1970s.

In the past ten years, a total of 14 people have died in hunting accidents, with most of them during the firearms deer season.

The DNR reminds hunters to:

  • Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.
  • Always control the muzzle.
  • Be sure of the target and what’s beyond it.
  • Put finger on the trigger only when ready to shoot.

Hunters are also reminded to ensure their tree stands are in good working order because as many as one in three hunters who hunt from an elevated stand will fall and sustain a serious injury, according to national data.

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