Lake of the Woods has some of the best hunting in the world for deer, bear, waterfowl, three species of grouse, and more!

grouse huntingGrouse and Small game hunting. The hunting season for small game includes three species of grouse, rabbits and squirrels.

Ruffed grouse are the most common of the three species of grouse and are in good numbers throughout the area.  They are prevalent, delicious to eat and live amongst the hundreds of thousands of acres of public hunting woods around the area.

Thankfully, in addition to the large expanse of public hunting lands available in the area, there are hundreds of miles of dirt roads, ATV trails and dedicated hunter walking trails to hunt.

It is one thing to have big expanses of woods with birds, but if there are not roads and trails, they are simply not accessible.  This area has good access to the huge forest, creating world class grouse hunting opportunities.

Local resorts and hotels offer pet friendly lodging, making it great if you have a hunting dog(s).

Of the three species of grouse, the ruffed grouse are the holy grail of the forest in Northern MN! A blast to hunt and boy are they prevalent! Get your shotguns ready and start practicing because trying to hit a ruffed grouse after a flush can be one of the most challenging but rewarding birds to hunt. And they taste pretty good too!

Spruce grouse tend to frequent more of the pine forests and are a very dark, stronger tasting meat.  When you find the spruce grouse, they tend to be grouped together and are not the weariest of birds once you find them.  We encourage hunters to feel free to harvest a bird or two, but refrain from “limiting out” on these birds.  Ruffed  grouse are in bigger numbers and much more desirable for the dinner table.

Sharp Tailed Grouse tend to frequent more agriculture land on the edge of wooded land and are in isolated pockets.  They are in good numbers and will live in areas of the public hunting areas.  Some will frequent private lands as they tend to stay near agriculture and crops.

Many hunters seek out the trifecta of grouse, a true accomplishment.

Grouse hunting Lake of the Woods MN

Check out the ATV page for maps of public land and walking trails available!

Waterfowl hunting. Waterfowl hunting kicks off in early September and remains open until late October. Hunters come to Lake of the Woods, the Rainy River, NW Angle to hunt the miles and miles of water and surrounding fields for some of the best waterfowl hunting in North America.

If this is your first time, we recommend contacting one of our outfitters or resorts in getting a “lay of the land” and helping to ensure a successful and enjoyable hunt.  Hunters enjoy a nice variety of puddle ducks, divers, and Canada geese.

Up at the NW Angle, guides offer layout boat hunting which is a unique way to lay back in a specially designed boat amongst the open waters in the islands on this part of the lake.

Check out this video from a hunt in Four Mile Bay, located at the mouth of the Rainy River behind Pine Island.


Deer hunting. In MN, bow hunters can get a jump-start on the deer hunting season as early as mid-September. For those with firearms, the season begins the first part of November.

Muzzleloaders have a brief window of opportunity at the end of November – but hurry, because the entire muzzleloader season is finished by mid-December.deer-hunting-300x214

With the thousands of acres of public forest and dozens of resorts in the area, Lake of the Woods can be a great place to establish deer camp and start a tradition.

Some deer hunters enjoy the thrill of staying at one of our NW Angle resorts and hunting the thousands of islands within the Ontario portion of Lake of the Woods.  Some trophy bucks are taken each year from islands both large and small in size.  Contact one of our NW Angle Resorts for more info.

Bear hunting. Lake of the Woods area is known for it’s abundance of black bears. Many of our resorts/outfitters offer full service accommodations. MN hunters need to apply for a permit ahead of the hunt.  In Ontario, bear tags can be purchased over the counter.  Feel free to contact Lake of the Woods Tourism at 1-800-382-3474 for more info.

Public Land open for hunting! If you’re looking for public hunting land, Lake of the Woods offers literally thousands of acres of state land, nearly all of which is open and available for hunting.  Some popular areas to begin are Beltrami Island State Forest, Red Lake Wildlife Management Area, Pine Island State Forest and Lake of the Woods State Forest are just a few places to begin.

geese-hunt-fall-opener-waterfowl-2015-300x180Not sure where to hunt? Take advantage of one of the many hunter walking trails maintained by the Minnesota DNR. Check this out and more information by downloading the official Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook on the Minnesota DNR website. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/hunting/index.html

For more information on resorts/outfitters offering hunting, contact Lake of the Woods Tourism at at info@lakeofthewoodsmn.com.

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