Minnesota firearms youth deer season starts Thursday

Here's what you need to know.

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Ethan Compton, then 10, gets help from his mother, Michelle Compton, on how to hold a rifle. He was preparing to go hunting for the first time that year. 2008 file / Foum News Service

For the first time ever, Minnesota is holding a special youth-only firearms deer season across the entire state (where hunting is legal) in an effort to recruit and encourage new deer hunters to take up the endeavor. It's hoped warmer weather than in November and the state's annual October school break will get lots of kids out in orange.

The season starts Thursday and runs through Sunday for kids ages 10-17. But several rules apply, including that participants must be licensed. If hunting in a bucks-only management area, youth can shoot only bucks.


  • Youth ages 10-17 may take one either-sex deer by firearms statewide from Oct. 17-20.

  • Participant numbers are not limited, and there is no special permit.

  • Participating youths must possess a valid firearm deer license. Youths ages 10, 11 and 12 must possess a free license.

  • An adult parent/guardian/mentor 18 or older must accompany youths ages 10-13 at all times during the hunt. The adult does not need to be licensed.

  • Blaze orange/pink requirements apply to all hunters, trappers and adult mentors in areas open during this season.

  • The accompanying adult cannot hunt, and party hunting is not allowed (youths must tag their own deer.)

  • Youths 12 years of age and older must have a firearms safety certificate or apprentice hunter validation.

  • The bag limit is one deer only. Youths may use their regular license or a bonus permit if they take an antlerless deer, except in “bucks only” deer permit areas.

  • Bucks must be tagged with the youth’s regular license.

  • Participation does not affect eligibility for the regular deer season; however, the harvested deer counts against the youth’s annual statewide bag limit.

  • Deer permit area designations for the youth season are the same as for the regular firearms deer season. For example, a deer permit area designated as hunter choice during firearms season is hunter choice during the youth season.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at
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