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Bear Hunting In Minnesota

Hunting Methods:  Fair Chase - Baiting

Bear hunting in Minnesota has a dark history. Bears were feared by people and treated as nuisances. In 1965 they were given the status of vermin and, therefore could be exterminated without question. During this time, bears were routinely caught in steel foot traps or shot in the gut and left to die slow, excruciating death.

When Did Bear Hunting Start In Minnesota?

In 1971, the first set of regulated hunting rules were established.

Bear hunting is broken down into three Hunting Zones:

  • Permit Areas - Limited number of permits given out.

  • No-Quota Area - No limit on the number of permits given out. 

  • Statewide

When Is Bear Hunting Season?

  • Statewide Baiting - Aug. 26 (No bait may be placed before or after this date)

  • Permit Areas and No-Quota Area - Sep. 1- Oct. 31

What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery: Bows with a minimum draw weight of 30 pounds; Arrowheads and Expandable broadheads must have a minimum of two metal cutting edges, be of barbless broadhead design, with a diameter of at least ⅞ inch; Hand-held mechanical release attached to the bowstring may be used only if the person’s own strength draws and holds the bowstring.

Firearms: Firearms of at least .220 caliber with centerfire ignition using single projectile ammunition. 

Muzzleloaders: Muzzleloading Rifles at least .40 caliber; Smooth-bore muzzleloaders that are at least .45 caliber; Muzzleloading long guns or handguns that are not loaded at the breech.

Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

No. Killing cubs is illegal.

Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

Yes. Baiting is legal.

Is Dog Hunting Permitted In Minnesota?

No. Use of dogs is illegal.

What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After They Kill A Bear?

After a bear is harvested, hunters must validate the site tag by punching out or marking with a pen the required information. The tag must be attached to the carcass before putting the bear in a vehicle or hanging it in camp. Every bear is to be registered within 48 hours of the kill and before processed. Bears can be skinned, quartered, or divided before transportation and registration. Still, all edible meat and all other parts of the bear retained by the hunter must be presented for registration at the same time. Every hunter who has harvested a bear must send in a tooth to the DNR. If they are unable to get a postage-paid envelope at a DNR station, the steps to send one in can be found here -

There are three registration options:

1. Walk-in bear registration stations: Hunters must personally present the bear at an official bear registration station and receive a big game possession tag and pick up a tooth envelope and submit as per DNR instruction.


2. Telephone: This is typically referred to as Interactive Voice Response (IVR). To register the bear using the IVR system, hunters need to follow the steps printed on their bear license. They will then be given the confirmation number that is to be written on the license in the appropriate area.


3. Internet: Hunters are to go to to register the bear. They should then click "Register A Harvest" after logging in, and correctly fill out the information needed. The system will give hunters a confirmation number that must be written on the license and site tag in the appropriate area.  

What Is Their Reasoning For Hunting Bears?

  • Regulating bear population

  • Controlling nuisance problems

  • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women

What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

  1. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

  2. Wildlife Conservation & Restoration Program

When Does The Department of Natural Resources Hold Their Meetings?

Meetings for the DNR are posted here -

Are The Meeting Open To The Public?

There are many meetings open to the public. Dates, times, and locations can be found here-

Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and Minnesota’s elected General Assembly Members have the authority to introduce and vote on proposed law changes.


Sarah Strommen- Commissioner of the Minnesota DNR

Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting.

Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance (MOHA) -

BearPaw Guiding -

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