What does the opening of deer season mean to your family?

Saturday is opening day of Minnesota’s firearm season on white-tailed deer. According to the Department of Natural Resources, about half a million hunters participate in the hunt each year. What does the opening of deer season mean to your family?

Comment texted to MPR:

What hunting means to my family? Dad is gone for two days to be alone and think about life. I don’t care for deer as food. If I shoot one, it’ll be donated. Hope I don’t though! I have a hard time de-boning a chicken! -Don, St. Paul, MN

  • Deer opener means absolutely nothing to my family.

  • Judy

    Opening hunting means that a cousin’s husband goes out of town to hunt, and my 84 yr. old mother, my sister, and I meet at this cousin’s house to make lefse with her for the coming holidays. An autumn ritual for Norwegians.

  • kt


  • Jenni

    Are you kidding? Deer hunting opener affects my family the way Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter affect my family: We know exactly where everyone should be and what they’ll be doing there.

    The men will be together up north at the hunting shack pretending that they’re providing food for the family, and all that. (I’ve done the cost-benefit analysis, and the amount spent on bullets, guns, gear, land, and meat processing exceeds the value of venison.) The women will be together laughing, watching great movies, eating great food (at restaurants), reading, talking, finishing some home improvement projects together, and generally happy to be without men underfoot.

    True, my niece Taylor is becoming an accomplished huntress and prefers to join the men. And my son Sam is not old enough to hunt, so he stays with the women.

    But still. We know where everyone should be.

  • Benjamin Westby

    The opening of deer season is something of meaning of not only my family but of my whole community. Friends and neighbors all come together early in the morning, share stories of the past years, drink a hot cup of coffee and then gear up for hunting. For my family, it is our way of obtaining meat during the winter and way to come together.

  • Helene

    Deer Opener means to my family that lots of animals will be killed without purpose, as unfortunately many Minnesotans hunt for “fun”, without ever consuming their prey.

  • Mariya Schumacher

    My husband has been deployed since August..but I haven’t noticed it yet since October and November are strictly devoted to hunting..he is definately feeling left out this year..it was hard to adjust for a Twin Cities girl like me how important hunting is up here in North Dakota..but I think it’s great and I wish all those hunters lots of luck this year!


    I live 5 miles outside of Ely, Minnesota. During deer season the state-owned property across the road is heavily hunted. I don’t walk in the woods, and wear orange even in my own yard. The sound of gunshots makes me think of people who live in war zones year around. I live with the anxiety for only two weeks.

  • Robyn Semanko

    Deer hunting means that my kids can not play outside at their grandparents house for awhile because their property is next to a wildlife area where people hunt.

  • Mike in St Paul

    I don’t hunt, and don’t know a lot of people who do. So for me, it simply means a somewhat quieter neighborhood, and maybe some venison sausage at Thanksgiving from my relatives.

  • Shane

    Venison sausage! Venison chilli! Venison burgers! Venison sticks! Venison meatloaf (yes, meatloaf)! It means I get more in touch with my hunter friends!

  • Adam

    Deer season is a reminder that much of our state still celebrates the primitive and cruel “tradition” of killing another living creature for sport. The justifications for hunting ring hollow to me; I see no good reason that hunting is still allowed – except that it makes money for those who sell guns and ammunition. I only wish our news organizations would stop glorifying this brutal and sadistic activity.

  • Paul

    Deer opener is the time of year when deer/car accidents are most likely. So, it means we’ll be on the look out for eye shine.

  • Jen

    It means for the next two weeks I won’t let my kids look at the front page of the paper because there’s always some hunter holding up the dead head of a slaughtered deer by the antlers. It means I dread pulling into a gas station with my kids because some hunter will pull up with slaughtered gutted deer on top of their truck. It means we will see even more dead deer along the sides of roads, probably hit while trying to flee from gunshots. We all abhor this time of year.

  • kim

    People who look on deer hunting only as the killing of a living thing don’t have a clue about the people who’s main red meat is venison. I used to live in northern WI where many live on a limited income. Many of them are raising families and if it weren’t for hunting and fishing there family nutrition could be compromised. Hunting is good when done to feed yourself or your family. Please think before you judge others.

  • kirby

    We live in the woods. Deer hunting means that people demand to hunt our land without respect for our wishes. It means that riding on the trails is hazardous. Hunters cause great hardship in the country. If DNR had rational plans to limit the deer herd we wouldn’t have the millions of dollars in damage to cars, farms, orchards, and personal property by deer. They are not native to this area so it is only thie wishes of the few that cause DNR to keep the deer numbers high. Deer hunting now has to be simple enough for the incompetent to score and so be able to brag.

  • Jack Goldman

    It makes me thankful to live in a nation where citizens can have guns, hunt, and be in charge of our own destiny. Deer hunting is a religion for many people who worship nature where all of humans come from. We are all mammals. We all devour the Universe. We are all linked directly to wilderness, living illusions and deceptions, in cities.

    Wilderness and deer hunting offered me sanity to get back to basics. After having cancer I quit hunting. I have a cabin near Ely and love nature.

    Jack Goldman

    St. Paul, MN

  • Kevin M

    As someone who doesn’t hunt, but is about to receive both a stand-up freezer and a deer, I love deer season. My uncle always hunted when I was growing up, and I didn’t learn to appreciate venison until recently. This year my girlfriend’s father has promised me a buck, and I look forward to venison all winter long. Yay, Deer Season.

  • Julie

    Our family refers to this time of year as “I am NOT a deer” season. All critters (2 legged and 4 legged) wear orange when we step outside the house – even to walk to the mailbox. We have learned that, unfortunately, anything moving is fair game in the minds and trigger fingers of some hunters. We will be anxiously awaiting the end of the season when all return to the city to put their guns away (now that they’re sober) and tell their stories.

  • Justin Smith

    There is no good argument for hunting and hurting animals. Not eating meat at all is better for the environment, ultimately better for your health, and non-meat foods tend to be cheaper too. It’s not our job to say there are too many deer… if nature allows for that many deer, we should coexist with them.

  • Gerald L. Myking

    Personally it means nothing to me, I do not hunt. I am however very grateful to the deer hunters for controlling the population via the DNR. In the 16 years I have lived here I have never seen one shot by a hunter though I did hear shooting today. I have seen about 8 deer killed by motor vehicles and one human. It was getting so bad around my place I begged the local authorities to at least put up a deer crossing sign which they did. Last year I assisted a local sheriffs deputy put down a crippled deer that was hit by a car in my neighbors yard in spite of the sign. Those who have anti-hunting opinions do not understand the alternatives. Thousands of deer starving to death, have you ever seen it, I have it’s not pretty. The only major predators left are hunters and motor vehicles. At least with the hunters we have some control. We could bring back all of the natural predators but then you would have to worry about your children year round. Our coyote population was quite significant for a while and they did help control the deer population but it’s seems people don’t like their cats and dogs getting eaten. One of the locals had a cougar on her front steps and this was in a highly populated residential neighborhood. The majority of hunters love nature and have more respect and understanding of it than non-hunters. The real world and the ways of nature was not created by Walt Disney.

  • stephanie graves

    Me and my family love deer season. We hunt every season their is.

  • Cory Heitman Kyle brantner

    Hunting is a good thing and people have been doing it for years shot big bucks! good luck