Three Rivers Park District actively works to keep white-tailed deer herds in balance with the available habitat. As part of its deer management plan, scheduled archery and shotgun hunts are offered at several parks.
Sharpshooting with trained staff is also used to remove deer from areas not suitable for hunting. Each year, aerial deer surveys are conducted in January or February to help determine where deer hunts should take place.
Shotgun hunts are held during the second weekend of the gun hunting season. Hunters are selected through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Special hunt lottery.
This hunt is in zone 701, so hunters can harvest up to five (5) deer. These hunts require the use of non-lead ammunition. Hunters are restricted to shotguns and muzzleloaders. Pistols are not permitted.
Applying for Shotgun Hunts
Hunters interested in participating can apply online or at a licensing station when purchasing a hunt license. Applications are due in early September. Selected hunters are required to attend an orientation meeting prior to the hunt.
Three Rivers Park District conducts special permit archery hunts in a number of its parks. Hunts currently take place in Baker, Crow-Hassan, Lake Rebecca and Murphy-Hanrehan park reserves and Cleary Lake, Eagle Lake, Fish Lake, French and Spring Lake regional parks, and also at Gale Woods Farm. The dates for the 2021 hunts are listed below. The hunts are two three-day hunts. One hunt period is early in the season and one is later. The hunts run Monday to Wednesday or Friday to Sunday depending on the park.
During archery hunts, parks will remain open with access to paved and turf trails, dog off-leash areas, horse trails, golf courses and picnic areas.
Applying for Archery Hunts
Three Rivers selects archery hunters through a preference lottery through the Metro Bowhunters Resource Base (MBRB). MBRB has closed new applications for 2021.
MBRB Special Announcement For 2021
The Metro Bowhunters Resource Base will not open application for the 2021 season to any new volunteer hunters. MBRB has experienced an enormous amount of growth in our volunteer database over the past few years which has brought many challenges, not only for our organization but for our landowners as well. In order for MBRB to be successful in meeting our mission to be effective in managing deer for our landowner clients, we need to ensure that our hunters have appropriate, sufficient experience in bowhunting, truly understand the purpose of MBRB and also the commitment required to participate in the hunts. The MBRB Board will be taking this year to determine the best means to be sure that new applicants meet those criteria.
The 2021 application process will still be open to any and all existing registered volunteers who are in good standing with MBRB.
We appreciate you and thank you for your understanding.
MBRB Board of Directors
Enrollments open May 1 for existing volunteers. In 2022, archers interested in the hunts will again be able to apply through MBRB's website.
Three Rivers takes several precautions to ensure the safety of hunters, park guests and nearby residents.
All hunters are required to attend a pre-hunt orientation and select their stand sites before the hunt. Because of these safety precautions, parks remain open to the public during archery hunts, including the following areas:
- Paved and turf trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding
- Dog off-leash areas
- Picnic areas
- Golf courses
- Visitor centers
Only the following areas are closed during hunts:
- Group campsites
- Cleary Lake Campground
Park users and nearby residents are informed of hunts through posted signage at park and trail entrances, and notices on the website, social media and in local newspapers.
During shotgun hunts, parks are closed completely, including all trails and facilities.
- Cleary Lake: Sept. 24-26, Oct. 22-24
- Lake Rebecca: Sept. 24-26, Dec. 10-12
- Gale Woods: Sept. 27-29, Nov. 1-3
- Baker: Oct. 1-3, Oct. 29-31
- Spring Lake: Oct. 4-6, Nov. 1-3
- Eagle Lake: Oct. 11-13, Nov. 8-10
- Crow-Hassan: Oct 15-17, Nov. 12-14
- Murphy-Hanrehan: Oct. 15-17, Nov. 12-14
- Carver: Nov. 13 & 14
For questions, please contact the Three Rivers Park District Wildlife section at 763-694-7840 or wildlife@ThreeRiversParks.org.