Military Personnel and Veterans
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Hunting licenses and lotteries
Residents On Leave
Who have maintained legal residency in Minnesota (must have a valid MN DL or Public Safety ID) and who are serving in the U.S. Military and stationed outside the state may:
- Hunt small game without a license while on leave. No Minnesota Waterfowl Stamp or Pheasant Stamp is needed but must have a Federal Migratory Bird Stamp to hunt waterfowl.
- May hunt deer (Firearms: Code 232; Archery: Code 233, Muzzleloader: Code 234), bear (Code 663), and wild turkeys (Spring: Code 615; Fall: Code 654) without charge after obtaining the appropriate licenses and tags from an ELS license agent by presenting official leave papers.
- Does not include Moose, Elk or Deer bonus permits. Such service personnel must carry proof of Minnesota residency and official leave papers on their person while hunting. Licenses are valid immediately upon issuance.
- From the U.S. Armed Forces within 10 days of the start or during the Firearms Deer Season may purchase a Firearms Deer License during the season upon showing official discharge papers. The license is valid immediately after purchase.
- Who have served at any time during the preceding 24 months in federal active service outside the United States and have been discharged from active service may:
- Take small game without a license. Discharged residents must carry proof of Minnesota residency and official military discharge papers. No state stamps required. (Federal stamp required for migratory waterfowl hunting.)
- Obtain a free deer license. Eligibility is limited to one deer license per person per year. Discharged residents must provide proof of residency and a copy of their official military discharge papers. (Firearms: Code 232, Archery: Code 233, Muzzleloader: Code 234).
- Who have served at any time during the past 24 months, in active service as a member of the United States armed forces, including the National Guard or other military reserves will receive first preference in drawings for special deer hunts, bear and turkey permits. http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/licenses/hunting/res_militarypreference.pdf
With proof of a 100 percent service-related disability may obtain a free Small Game License (241) and a free Firearms (242), or Muzzleloader (240), or Archery (243) Deer License from an ELS license agent. In addition, a disabled veteran is exempt from purchasing state pheasant or waterfowl stamps, but must purchase a federal duck stamp to hunt waterfowl. Disabled veterans with 100 % service connected disability will receive first preference in drawings for special deer hunts, bear and turkey permits. http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/licenses/hunting/res_militarypreference.pdf
Note: Military personnel and veterans who are issued firearms deer licenses under these provisions may take antlerless deer, but are restricted to bucks-only hunting in those lottery deer permit areas that have an either-sex permit quota of zero. To participate in special deer hunts, they must apply and be drawn. They may also purchase bonus permits.
Resident Purple Heart Recipients
Must purchase licenses, but will receive first preference in drawings for antlerless deer permits, bear and turkey permits. http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/licenses/hunting/res_militarypreference.pdf
- Nonresident spouses of residents on active military duty may purchase resident hunting and fishing licenses. Nonresidents must provide proof of spouse’s residency and active military duty.
- A person in the U.S. Armed Forces who is stationed in the state may purchase resident hunting and fishing licenses, but not moose or elk licenses.
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Firearms safety training
A person who is on active duty and has successfully completed basic training in the US armed forces, reserve component, or National Guard may obtain a hunting license or approval authorizing hunting regardless of whether the person is issued a firearms safety certificate. (They must be on active duty, home on leave with leave papers (they then qualify only for that time frame). Once discharged or no longer on active duty, they must complete the firearms safety training course or online adult course the same as all others born after Dec 31, 1979.)
A person who has successfully completed basic training in the US Armed Forces is exempt from the range and field day exercise portion of firearms safety training. They must complete the hunter education firearms safety training classroom, home study or online adult course the same as all others born after December 31, 1979, and provide proof of basic training, i.e., Discharge papers (DD214), or current military identification to the instructor conducting the test. This safety training certification will be valid throughout the U.S.
See also mndnr.gov/safety/apprentice/index.html regarding the apprentice safety training two year exemption. This can only be used in MN. It does not meet any safety requirements for other states. Those using this exemption must hunt with a licensed hunter whose license was not obtained using an apprentice hunter validation.
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- A person in the U.S. Armed Forces who is stationed or training in the state may purchase a resident fishing license. (Includes those in training at Camp Ripley.)
- A resident who has served at any time during the preceding 24 months in federal active service outside the United States and has been discharged from active service may take fish without a license. Discharged residents must carry proof of Minnesota residency and official military discharge papers. Trout stamps are not required. (Note: Free sturgeon tags are available only from the DNR License Center in St. Paul.)
- Any Minnesota veteran with a 100% service-connected disability may obtain a permanent angling license. These permanent licenses are available only from the DNR License Center. A trout stamp is not required with this license. http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/licenses/fishing/res_specialanglingpermanent.pdf
The following are Exempt from Fishing License Requirements:
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Cross country ski pass exemptions
- Minnesota residents in the US Military who are stationed outside the state and home on leave. Military staff must carry leave or furlough papers.
- Minnesota residents who have served at any time during the preceding 24 months in federal active service outside the United States and has been discharged from active service is exempt from the pass requirement if the resident possesses official military discharge papers (DD214).
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Minnesota State Park vehicle permits
A free one-day Minnesota State Park vehicle permit is available to military personnel on leave and those visiting within 90 days of leaving active service. Bring your current military orders and military ID, and let the park attendant know your military status when you arrive.
A free one-day Minnesota State Park vehicle permit is also available to any resident veteran with any level of service-connected disability. Bring a copy of your determination letter and a photo ID, and let the park attendant know your military status when you arrive.
A free annual Minnesota State Park permit is available to any veteran who has a total and permanent service–connected disability. Present a copy of your determination letter to the park attendant for the free annual sticker.
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Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine
A free two-year subscription to Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, the DNR’s donor-supported magazine advocating conservation and careful use of Minnesota’s natural resources. Call 1-888-646-6367 and ask for the Military Personnel and Veteran offer. Or go to mndnr.gov/magazine.
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