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 buy unlimited bonus tags for antlerless 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 tentative dates for the 2019 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 is open to all archers. Archers interested in the hunt can apply through MBRB's website. Applications are due July 31 of each year. Selected hunters are required to attend an orientation meeting prior to the hunt.
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. 25-27, Oct. 23-25
- Lake Rebecca: Sept. 25-27, Dec. 13-15
- Fish Lake: Sept. 28-30, Oct 26-28
- Mississippi Gateway: Sept. 28-30, Oct. 26-28
- Gale Woods: Sept. 28-30, Nov. 2-4
- Baker: Oct. 2-4, Oct. 30-Nov. 1
- French: Oct. 5-7, Nov. 2-4
- Spring Lake: Oct. 5-7, Nov. 2-4
- Eagle Lake: Oct. 12-14, Nov. 9-11
- Crow-Hassan: Oct 16-18, Nov. 20-22
- Murphy-Hanrehan: Oct. 16-18, Nov. 20-22
- Elm Creek: Nov. 14 & 15
For questions, please contact the Three Rivers Park District Wildlife section at 763.694.7840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.