Deer at Buffalo River State Park in Minnesota

Several Minnesota state parks and regional parks host deer hunts from early fall to early winter. Here is a 2023 deer hunting guide to inform hikers which Minnesota parks are closed or limited to non-hunters. Additionally, this guide includes safety tips while hiking during deer season. Please note that this post is for informational purposes and reflects the deer hunt schedule as of Oct. 17, 2023. Always check the park’s website for the latest updates regarding deer hunt schedules and details.


This post contains recommended links to products and services. While you will not accrue any additional costs to support my blog, I may receive compensation if you purchase these products and services. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. All images taken by kmf are available for purchase via digital download.


How to hike safely during deer season in Minnesota

Best hiking trails near Duluth deer in woods at Banning State Park

When hiking during deer season (typically late September through December), check the specific Minnesota state park or regional park website or the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website. You can also call the specific park office for more details. These resources will indicate the dates of the hunts, the type of hunts, and if the park is closed or open with limited availability.

What does it mean if a park is closed or limited during deer hunting season?

Deer on Agate Bay hiking trail near Duluth and Two Harbors Minn

Closed during deer hunting season means the park is closed to the public. The MN state park is only open to hunters who possess a valid permit during a hunt.

Limited during deer hunting season means the park is open to visitors and hunters. Sometimes only specific areas of the park are open to the public while other areas are open to hunters only. Signs are typically posted. Although last year, I got a little nervous when I saw signs on a hiking trail that conflicted with what the website said. Turns out they had not yet removed the signs. Fortunately, I wore bright colors just in case, and I hiked a different trail.

Safety tips while hiking during hunting season in Minnesota

The following outlines the hiker safety tips during hunting season as recommended by the MN DNR.

  • What should hikers wear during hunting season in Minnesota? Wear blaze orange or bright colors.
  • Check the park website, call the park office, and check in with the park office when you arrive to learn about any hunt-related details.
  • Pay attention to any hunt-related signage posted at the park and heed its advice.
  • While deer are typically not aggressive animals, they are still animals. They are known to protect themselves and their offspring if they feel threatened, scared, or hurt. And bucks can become aggressive during mating season (the fall) so take caution if you see a male deer while hiking.


List of Minnesota state parks that host deer hunts

hiking trail through tall pine trees and a blue sky

The following lists the Minnesota state parks that host deer hunts. This information serves as a guide to help you plan your hiking adventures around scheduled deer hunts as of Oct. 17, 2023. To ensure your safety before hitting the trails at these MN state parks, check the specific park’s website and the MN DNR website for the latest updates.

Which Minnesota state parks are closed for deer hunting in October 2023?

Below is a list of Minnesota state parks hosting deer hunts that are closed or limited to the public in October 2023 . Please check the MN DNR website for the latest updates.


Oct. 14-15, 2023
  • Lake Bronson State Park: Limited

Oct. 20-22, 2023
  • Lake Bemidji State Park: Limited
  • Zippel Bay State Park: Limited

Oct. 27-28, 2023
  • McCarthy Beach State Park: Closed

Oct. 28-29, 2023

Take the Minnesota State Park Challenge

Reviews of all MN state parks

Which Minnesota state parks are closed for deer hunting season in November 2023?

Tall trees with yellow trees and leaves on the ground

Below is a list of Minnesota state parks hosting deer hunts that are closed or limited to the public in November 2023. Please check the MN DNR website for the latest updates.

Nov. 4-5, 2023

Nov. 4-7, 2023
  • Lake Bemidji State Park: Limited
  • Lake Carlos State Park: Limited
  • Maplewood State Park: Limited
  • Old Mill State Park: Limited

Nov. 4-12, 2023

Nov. 4-19, 2023
  • Cascade River State Park: Limited
  • Franz Jevne State Park: Limited
  • Gooseberry Falls State Park: Limited
  • Hayes Lake State Park: Limited
  • Judge C.R. Magney: Limited
  • Scenic State Park: Limited
  • Schoolcraft State Park: Limited
  • Split Rock Lighthouse State Park: Limited
  • Tettegouche State Park: Limited
  • Zippel Bay State Park: Limited

Nov. 9-12, 2023
  • Glacial Lakes State Park: Limited

Nov. 11-12, 2023
  • Lake Louise State Park: Limited
  • William O’Brien State Park: Closed

Nov. 16-19, 2023
  • St. Croix State Park: Closed

Nov. 18-19, 2023

Nov. 25-Dec. 10, 2023
  • Itasca State Park: Limited
  • Hayes Lake State Park: Limited
  • Lake Vermillion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park: Limited
  • McCarthy Beach State Park: Limited
  • Schoolcraft State Park: Limited

Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 2023
  • St. Croix State Park: Closed

Which Minnesota state parks are closed for deer hunting season in December 2023?

Deer at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
Can you spot the deer?

Below is a list of Minnesota state park hosting deer hunts in December 2023 and are closed or limited to the public. Please check the MN DNR website for the latest updates.

Nov. 25-Dec. 10, 2023 (carryover from November)
  • Itasca State Park: Limited
  • Hayes Lake State Park: Limited
  • Lake Vermillion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park: Limited
  • McCarthy Beach State Park: Limited
  • Schoolcraft State Park: Limited

Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 2023 (carryover from November)
  • St. Croix State Park: Closed

Dec. 2-3, 2023
  • Beaver Creek Valley State Park: Limited
  • Myre-Big Island State Park: Limited
  • Nerstrand Big Woods State Park: Closed
  • Rice Lake State Park: Limited
  • Sibley State Park: Closed

Dec. 2-6, 2023

Dec. 5-7, 2023

Dec. 8-10, 2023
  • Lake Maria State Park: Closed
Dec. 15-17, 2023
  • Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park: Limited
  • Great River Bluffs State Park: Limited
  • Nerstrand Big Woods State Park: Closed

Dec. 24-31, 2023
  • Kilen Woods State Park: Limited


Other Minnesota parks that host deer hunts

Boardwalk hiking trail in a park with a blue and yellow sky with clouds

The following is a limited list of other Minnesota parks hosting deer hunts. Check the specific park’s website for more information and the latest information before hiking at any parks in Minnesota during deer hunting season.

  • Carver Park Reserve: Closed Nov. 11-12, 2023
  • Lebanon Hills Regional Park: Closed Nov. 13-15, 2023 and Nov. 20-22, 2023
  • Miesville Ravine Park Reserve: Closed Nov. 4-12, 2023 and Dec. 2-10, 2023
  • Minnesota Valley Recreation Area (Carver Rapids and Thompson Ferry units): Limited Nov. 16-Dec. 31, 2023
  • Minnesota Valley Recreation Area (Lawrence unit): Closed Nov. 11-12, 2023
  • Spring Lake Park Reserve: Note: No deer hunting in 2023

Stay safe: Blaze orange hiking gear to wear during deer hunting season

Wear blaze orange hiking gear to stay safe while hiking during deer hunting season.


Pin it for later

How to stay safe while hiking in MN during deer season

Hiking safety during deer season in Minnesota
Author

Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller

70 comments

    1. Thank you! And I agree – so important to be aware. I didn’t know deer hunting was allowed in state and regional parks until I started hiking last year. So I wanted to share what I learned and pass along some safety tips.

  1. I always worry about hiking and hunting. I thought I was just being paranoid but I guess it’s confirmed there can be both in the same area. It’s good to know there are sites to go check on dates. I am glad to be aware of this now.

    1. I’m not a fan of hiking in parks during the scheduled deer hunts so typically avoid them. Until I started hiking regularly last year, I didn’t realize they allowed deer hunting in state and regional parks. It was good information for me to learn so wanted to share with others.

  2. The orange clothes are nice and bright to wear in the state parks when hiking in deer hunting season. The hand warmers can be used to stop the camera lens from fogging up.

    1. I never thought to use hand warmers to prevent the camera lens from fogging up…brilliant! Thanks for that tip. I need to add more blaze orange to my hiking gear although I typically avoid hiking in parks hosting deer hunts.

  3. Wow! This is great information for those who love to get outside no matter what the season. I’m not sure if I can find this type of information for my area of Michigan, but I’m sure going to look into it!

    1. Thank you! I would check Michigan’s DNR website to see if they host deer hunts in their state parks. If so, they should post a schedule.

    1. Thank you! I never thought about hiking safety during deer season until last fall when I was exploring Minnesota state parks. Happy to pass along.

    1. Thank you and my pleasure. I didn’t think about deer season until I was hiking at Minnesota state parks last year and saw the signs.

    1. Ha! I’m Minnesotan and I didn’t even realize you could go deer hunting in state parks. I know now and happy to share what I learned.

    1. Same…I only shoot with my camera so wasn’t aware of deer hunts in state parks. I saw the signs last year while hiking so thought I’d pass along these safety tips.

    1. There are some sad stories about hunting accidents. So important to stay safe during deer season while hiking at Minnesota state parks.

    1. Thanks…I didn’t know they closed state parks for deer hunting until last year during my Minnesota state park hiking challenge. And was surprised to learn they keep some parks partially open for both hunters and hikers. I avoid them even though they are huge parks.

  4. It is nice that certain parks are closed to the public for Deer Season in Minnesota. That is great information.

  5. Good safety info! And it’s great to plan ahead in case the park you wanted to explore was closed to hikers. The deer are certainly out in Missouri right now. We typically have a group of six that graze each night in the meadow across from our house!

    1. Thank you and my pleasure. It didn’t occur to me that hunting would take place at MN state parks until I saw the signs last fall. Sharing this year for other hikers who are not aware.

  6. This is a good post to help with hiker safety during the deer season. It is quite amazing how many of the parks do host deer hunters. I would make sure to dress in bright colours if there is any chance of hunters. Good reference list.

    1. Thank you. Happy to share hiking safety tips during deer season. I wasn’t aware last year so thought it would be useful content for other hikers.

  7. This is definitely good information to have before planning a hiking trip here! It’s something I wouldn’t have considered before reading your post in all honesty.

    1. Thank you! I didn’t think about hiking safety during deer season until last fall when I was exploring Minnesota state parks and saw the signs. Made me a little nervous so thought I’d share what I learned.

  8. Excellent that there is mindful conservation management of the species occurring! That is responsible land management. Any hiker anywhere should always wear bright colors when hiking during ANY HUNTING SEASONS in any location. Always safety first!

  9. This is such a helpful post! I didn’t even think about safety in parks during hunting season, but it is so so important. Thanks for all of the tips + help to stay safe!

    1. Thank you so much! I didn’t think about wearing brighter colors in the fall while hiking in Minnesota during hunting season until I saw signs last year. So wanted to pass along what I learned.

  10. This is important info to know, during deer season! Those of us who don’t hunt wouldn’t have hunting season top of the mind awareness.

  11. Eep! I have to admit, I had never considered that I might be in danger hiking in deer hunting season! These are great tips.

    I have a bright orange hat and coat to make me stand out when I cycle…I would totally wear those if I venture out!

    1. I had never thought about hunting season while I was hiking at Minnesota state parks last fall. That bright orange hat and coat would come in handy during deer season for sure.

  12. This is a great post! I find it so important for people to know when deer hunting is going on and how essential it is to wear the proper hiking gear during that time.

    1. Thank you so much! Happy to share what I learn. And it’s so important to be safe while hiking during deer season especially in Minnesota of other states as well.

  13. This is an extremely useful guide for hunters and non-hunters alike looking to use the State Parks. The Minnesota deer hunt was a huge part of my former father-in-law’s life before he passed several years ago. I know it was the highlight of his year always. As a non-hunter l, I think I might be a little nervous sharing those limited parks

    1. Thank you! I avoid hiking at the Minnesota state parks when they are open to deer hunting even in limited areas. So important to stay safe.

  14. What a timely and incredibly important topic to blog about. It makes me realize our blogs can be about more than amazing places; they can be about important topics to share with people who want to explore outdoors. THXS for posting.

  15. Great tips for hiking during deer hunting season in Minnesota state parks, Karen. I wouldn’t have thought about this but it’s a good thing to be aware of! Honestly I’d be a little nervous venturing out at all for fear I’d get it wrong.

    1. Thank you! I didn’t know it was a thing either. I was really nervous when I arrived at one of the state parks last year with signs saying some parts of the park were closed for deer hunters. I decided to hike there another day. So thought I’d share what I learned so hikers can hike safely during deer season in Minnesota.

  16. We had forgotten about hunters in some state parks. Thank you for the information on how to stay safe during deer season when exploring those incredible Minnesota State Parks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.