What to know as the Minnesota firearms deer hunting season opens

What to know as the Minnesota firearms deer hunting season opens

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(ABC 6 News) – It’s the weekend some wait all year for, the Minnesota firearm deer hunting season opener. This year, Governor Tim Walz’s opener is in Lanesboro at the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center.

The center is a hub for creating experiences and teaching people all year round. This weekend, it’s a new type of experience as it hosts the Governor’s deer hunting opener.

“We were mostly excited. But how do we put our best foot forward? How do we involve the community to make this a successful one? And how do we figure out programming to make sure the deer hunting mentoring we’re offering is a successful one,” said Colleen Foehrenbacher, Executive Director, of the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center.

— Related: Minnesota deer hunting licenses now on sale —

More than 400 thousand hunters are expected to take part in the annual tradition for family and friends.

Sarah Stronmen, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources explained why southeast Minnesota was chosen.

“A lot of people think about going up north for deer hunting, but the reality is, there is a very strong hunting tradition in southeast Minnesota. A very passionate deer-hunting community. A Very good habitat here.”

 Foehrenbacher believes it’s a chance to teach everyone why some have a passion for hunting.

“Not everyone understands why people hunt and harvest. Primarily for me, that’s to get amazing food. And so I think it just allows awareness for students who are here that have maybe never thought about,  ‘Maybe I can hunt one day, even though my family doesn’t do that.'”

—Related: Crossbows allowed in Minnesota this deer season

While people have fun, there are some things to keep in mind including Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD.) A degenerative brain disease found in some animals. If you are hunting this weekend, you should know:

  • Testing is required throughout opening weekend.
  • Deer have to be registered before sampling.
  • Testing has to be done within 24 hours of harvesting.
  • A hunter looking to use a mail-in kit needs it in their hands by Saturday.
  • Mail-in testing kits must be postmarked within 72 hours of harvest.

“It’s in order to get a robust sample so that we have a statistically valid result to help us understand where the disease is around the state. This is the weekend where most hunters are out participating. So it’s the easiest way for us to get as many samples as we need in the shortest amount of time,” added Stronmen.

Depending on where you’re hunting, there are staffed sampling stations. In some areas, you’ll only find self-service ones.

Outside of opening weekend, testing might not be required depending on what hunting zone you’re in. For more information on testing and this deer season, you can click here.