Frequently Asked Deer Harvest Questions


What are the deer hunting season dates? The main off-reservation deer hunting season begins the day after Labor Day (September 8 this year) and runs through December 31.

What can I hunt with? You can hunt with a firearm, bow, crossbow, or muzzleloader. Crossbows can be used during the state rifle season or with a disability permit during the regular season.

Where can I hunt? With a Band license, you can hunt on tribal lands (fee and trust), and public lands within the 1837 ceded territory. Some of the public lands are National Wildlife Refuges. Many of these areas are available for hunting. If you are interested in hunting in a specific area or need a map, please contact the Mille Lacs Band DNR.

What are the safe hunting times? Safe hunting times begin 30 minutes prior to sun-up and end 30 minutes after sunset.

How do I get a permit? Please contact your local MLBO DNR office at the following numbers below. Please note that due to the COVID, staffing in offices may be limited. Safe distancing and other safety measures are in place.

D1: (320) 532-7439
D2: (218) 768-5316
D3: (320) 384-6240 ext. 3230

What is NAGFA? Native American Game & Fish Applications (NAGFA) is a web-based system that will allow you to manage and track all of your tribal licenses and permits. This system also provides the opportunity to self-register your deer.

I’m not familiar with the NAGFA system. How can I get signed up and start using it? If you’ve hunted with a Band harvester permit previously, it is likely you are in the NAGFA system. You will need your NAGFA ID number to log in and use the system. Please contact either Vanessa Gibbs at (320) 384-6240 ext. 3230 or Steven Aubid at (218) 768-5316 with any questions about getting a NAGFA ID number, logging in, self-issuing permits, or reporting harvest.

What information do I need to bring with when I go to get my Band harvesting license?
You will need your Tribal ID to get a license, and if you have your hunter safety certificate or number please provide that as well.

Is there a limit to the number of deer I can harvest? Generally, there is no limit to the number of deer one single Band member can harvest. In effort to align with cultural teachings, we recommend that hunters only take what they need to feed themselves and their families.

I have a felony. Can I still hunt? If you have been convicted of a felony, you can hunt with a bow and arrow and possibly a muzzleloader. Please double check with your probation officer and reference MN statute 609.165 if that applies to you.

Can I be out hunting with a non-Band member? This answer has multiple scenarios to consider.

Band owned lands: If the non-Band member has an Access Permit only (very limited quantity available), then yes, they can accompany the Band member only.

Non-Band owned public lands: Yes, the non-Band member can hunt under State regulations and the Band member (provided the land is within the 1837 ceded territory) can hunt with a firearm or similar.

Can I shoot a deer from a vehicle? Shooting a deer from a vehicle is not permitted unless the hunter is disabled. With a specially issued permit, disabled hunters can hunt from a stationary vehicle. They cannot shoot across a roadway. Sec. 3.22 (12)(c)

Can I hunt at night? Night hunting is allowed in Minnesota. See Chapter 11, Section 5059 of the Mille Lacs code or Section 6.20 of the model code for the Minnesota 1837 ceded territory. Night hunting is also allowed in the off-reservation 1837 ceded territories in Wisconsin. See Section 6.20 of the model code. Those interested in night hunting will need a special permit and advanced hunter safety and marksmanship training provided by GLIFWC. Those interested should contact either Vanessa Gibbs at (320) 384-6240 ext. 3230 or Steven Aubid at (218) 768-5316.

I’m new to deer hunting and would like to start. Are there programs for training? Yes, if you are a new or inexperienced hunter, please contact MLBO DNR for programs offered and opportunities to participate in a special hunt in St. Croix State Park. The location and availability of these special hunts may vary from year to year.

Do I need a firearm safety course? If you were born before January 1, 1980, you do not need a hunter safety certification. Other exemptions: completed basic training in the U.S. Armed Forces, Reserves or National Guard. The Band Conservation Officers offer firearms safety courses. Please contact them at (320) 532-5690 for more information.

I’d like to take youth out hunting. Is that allowed? Yes, but if youth are handling a firearm, they need a firearm safety certificate and Band issued hunting license. For off-reservation hunting, youth or anyone can hunt with a mentor. See specific rules in Sec. 3.18.

I’ve heard there’s special permit hunts in some state parks. How do I get more information? Each year, the 1837 signatory bands of Minnesota (Mille Lacs & Fond du Lac) declare a certain number of special permits for St. Croix, Crow Wing, Banning, and Wild River State Parks. If you are interested in these hunts, please contact Vanessa Gibbs at (320) 384-6240 ext. 3230.

I’d like to learn more about processing my own deer. Are there resources in the band to help me learn? The MLBO DNR can help community members network with other harvesters who are willing to share their knowledge. Please feel free to contact our office for assistance at (320) 532-7439. There are also a lot of resources online. GLIFWC’s CWD website has a link to a series of videos on safely handling and processing deer to avoid areas where CWD prions are most likely accumulate in the deer. Website link:

I’m a non-Band member interested in hunting on Band lands. How do I obtain a permit? Non-band members seeking an access permit to hunt on tribal properties will need to meet one of the following criteria: descendant of a Band member, spouse of a Band member, or Band employee. Final approval is at the discretion of the Commissioner of Natural
Resources. Those interested should contact either Vanessa Gibbs at (320) 384-6240 ext.3230 or Steven Aubid at (218) 768-5316.

I hunt in Wisconsin. How do I transport a deer carcass across state lines back into Minnesota? With the recent findings of CWD near the Minnesota/Wisconsin border in District III, we are asking hunters to observe the State of Minnesota’s regulations on transport of deer parts into Minnesota:

Only the following parts of deer or other cervids may be brought into Minnesota:

  1. Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached
  2. Meat that is boned out or that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately)
  3. Hides and teeth
  4. Antlers or clean (no brain tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached
  5. Finished taxidermy mounts

I’ve heard there’s been positive CWD infected deer found in Minnesota. What do I need to know as a hunter? MLBO DNR is asking hunters to become familiar with the area they hunt in proximity to the positive CWD deer reports. Hunters should also be familiar with the signs of a sick deer: floppy ears, hanging head, slow movements, may not run when scared, and starved appearance. During the state season, there will head collection bins in certain locations starting November 7. Tribal hunters can help by depositing heads in the bins, and there will be a tear-away ID tag so that the hunter can follow up on a website to see if their deer is CWD infected. Please refer to available maps. Grand Portage has submitted a USDA-APHIS funding proposal to increase surveillance for tribes in MN, MI, and WI. If funded, it would likely mean that there would be additional opportunities to get deer tested for tribal members in the future.

Additional Resources

Off-reservation harvest regulations:

Off-reservation deer hunting regulations:

Register Deer: or 844-234-5439

Tribal Wildlife Management Units:

Remote Registration Instructions:

Instructions for self-issue of off-reservation permits:


MLBO DNR Headquarters: 320-532-7439

Conservation Officers: Jason Rice 320-630-2619, Jeffrey Schaefer 320-630-2463, Ashley Burton 218-838-3379

Commissioner of Natural Resources: Katie Draper: 320-515-0846