Bucks Beware: Minnesota Firearm Deer Season Begins

Nearly 500,000 hunters expected to bring in about 100,000 deer, according to DNR.

DULUTH, Minn.- Bucks Beware as nearly 500,000 hunters throughout the state are taking to the woods for the start of Firearm Deer Hunting Season.

The Minnesota DNR reminds hunters that a deer license purchased after opening day is valid starting the next day after being issued, not the same day.

You can register your deer in-person, over the phone, or on the DNR website.

“If you’re able to get one, great, and if you’re not, you are still able to participate and have a lot of fun,” said Garrett Mullvain, store manager at Fisherman’s Corner.

That’s the attitude many hunters who come through the store have, and some are more successful than others.

“We’ve had a couple people come through, we even weighed a nice 8–pointer this morning,” he said.

No matter the size of the prize, it’s still a prize.

“Any deer is really, should be prized, and then also just having the time to get out hunting should be cherished,” said Mullvain.

Because there are others who aren’t so lucky.

“Saw a lot of squirrels, umm yeah, other than that it was a little bit slow,” Shawn Mattson said. “Heard a lot of gunshots but it was just nice to be out.”

Mattson has been hunting with his son, Aydan, for three years.

“Just time out in the outdoors, spending quality time in nature,” the elder Mattson said.

“I just like the weather and all that, seeing nature,” said Aydan.

Despite the less than stellar morning, they aren’t quitting. “We’re just getting him a scope cover and then we’re gonna head back out tonight,” Shawn said.

Many hunt for the meat–the unique taste of venison.

“It’s a nice clean taste,” said Kris Bjonskaas. “I mean there’s not much fat so you’re gonna get a nice lean, lean steak, lean chop, lean burger, y’know?”

At Stokke’s Meat Processing on Canosia Road in Cloquet, they’re gearing up to handle about 300 deer this year.

It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of work,” Bjonskaas, a cutter, said. “It’s 12 hour days for the next three weeks, 12 hours plus.”

Every year, Bjonskaas said, their most popular item isn’t even regular meat.

“Venison sticks, actually, so that’s the most common, and brats–close second. But our sticks are really popular.”

For many hunters, it’s not about the buck they bag.

“We enjoy the meat but again it’s not about shooting a deer it’s just being out in nature and enjoying time with family,” Shawn said.

For others, it’s the feeling they get behind a firearm.

“I like the adrenaline that starts going through you when you see something, that big or something,” said son Aydan.

One thing’s for sure, you’ll never know unless you get out there yourself.

“My Grandpa always said that you can’t shoot any deer when you’re in the kitchen,” Mullvain said, “so you gotta be out in the woods, you gotta be out there and just see what happens.”

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