Hunting is a long-standing tradition amongst Cook County visitors and residents alike, and it’s no wonder. We have some of the best hunting in the region.

Careful, though–the epic scenery can be distracting.

The black bear was originally found throughout Minnesota, but now occurs only in northern woodlands. Bears lead solitary lives except when females are rearing their young, or when they come together for concentrations of food. Before European settlement, grizzly bears also roamed what is now Minnesota, mainly the western prairies, but grizzlies have been extinct from Minnesota for more than 150 years.

Adult black bears weigh between 250 and 300 pounds, and coat color may vary from light brown to deep black. They are primarily omnivorous; only about ten percent of their food is animal matter. They love Cook County blueberries.

Minnesota is the top ruffed grouse-producing state in the U.S. No other state harvests as many ruffed grouse each fall or provides as much public hunting land for them.

Ruffed grouse are a native woodland bird about the size of a chicken. The bird is noted for its fan-shaped tail marked by a broad, dark band, and a concealed neck ruff, which males puff out during courtship displays. Males also produce the well-known drumming noise similar to a distant lawnmower engine by beating their wings in the air, starting slowly as a series of thumps. As the beating speeds up, the sound resembles a drum or engine. The drumming occurs on logs, boulders, tree roots or other elevated sites known as “drumming logs”.

The white-tailed deer is Minnesota’s most popular wildlife species. Each year, approximately 500,000 hunters harvest about 200,000. The adult female weighs about 145 pounds, and males are about 170…and the heaviest whitetail ever recorded in the U.S. was a 500-pound Minnesota buck. Deer are amazing creatures. They can run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and leap over fences eight feet tall. Good luck to you!

For information about hunting seasons, deadlines for license applications and more, please go to Minnesota DNR.