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MINNESOTA LAW AFFECTING LIONS

Help encourage Minnesota to create a mountain lion management plan.


In the box below you will find all the governing state statutes, mountain lion legal status, state laws, information about the state legislature, initiative and referendum processes, and the state wildlife agency, mountain lion management plans, mountain lion hunting laws, depredation laws, and other regulations as appropriate.

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Minnesota Mountain Lion Laws and Regulations

Species Status


Mountain lions once roamed across Minnesota. However, due to perceived conflict with humans, they have been eradicated from the state and there is not current population of mountain lions in Minnesota. There are occasional reports of mountain lion sightings, and they may one day return to the abundant forests and suitable habitat found within the state. Under the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, mountain lions are protected by state law as a special concern species.

Visit the Minnesota state website for further details.

The Legislature


Minnesota Legislature consists of 67 senators and 134 House Representatives. Representatives serve a term of two years. Senators serve a four year term. Senators and representatives must have resided in the state for a year, and must live in the district in which they were elected for six months immediately preceding the election. In order to be enacted, laws must be passed by a majority, with the exception of general banking law, which requires the vote of two-thirds of the members of each house of the legislature.

Visit the Minnesota state website for further details on the state constitution.

Visit the Minnesota state website for further details about the state legislature.

State Law


Under the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, mountain lions are protected by state law as a special concern species. Special concern species is a special designation that refers to species that is not threatened or endangered. Rather, it is reserved for extremely uncommon species found within the state, or those that have unique or highly specific habitat and must be carefully monitored.

Visit the Minnesota DNR website for further details about the special status of mountian lions in Minnesota.

Hunting Law


According to Chapter 97B.641 in 2016 Minnesota Statutes, there is no season for hunting mountain lions in Minnesota. With no population of mountain lions residing in the state, it would be surprising if it were otherwise.

Obviously hunters may not use hounds to hunt mountain lions, but they may use dogs to hunt upland game, such as waterfowl, rabbits, and foxes, when they are in season. Out of season, dogs may run foxes as long as they are not taken. Running foxes is not permitted from mid-April to mid-July.

Hunters are allowed to use firearms, bows, or crossbows for hunting wild game. Hunters are not allowed to use artificial light for locating or hunting wild game.

Visit the this website for further details about hunting regulations.

State Regulation


All laws concerning Game and Fish can be found on the state website. These include definitions, hunting, fishing, penalties, licensing and permits, and possession and transportation of wild animals.

There are laws to protect wildlife from harassment by dogs. Between January first and July 14th, any resident may kill any dog observed wounding, killing, or pursuing in a manner that endangers big game. A peace officer or conservation officer may kill a dog harassing wildlife any time of year.

Visit the this website for further details.

Public Safety Law


As a protected species, mountain lions are not allowed to be killed by the general public or hunters. If there is a safety concern regarding a mountain lion, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources or a licensed peace officer may take the animal.

Visit the the DNR website for further details.

Depredation Law


As a protected species, mountain lions are protected even in the case that it is threatening or killing livestock. Only public safety officials such as a licensed peace officer or an authorized permit holder may shoot the animal.

Visit the this website for further details.

Poaching


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a website link and toll-free number to turn in poachers.

Visit the the DNR website for further details on reporting poaching.

A person convicted of violating a provision of the game and fish laws that is defined as a gross misdemeanor is subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $3,000 and imprisonment in the county jail for between 90 days and a year.

You can read more by visiting the state website.

Road Mortalities


Responsibility for collecting roadkill deer rests on the local road authorities. DNR staff organize permitting, and officers are encouraged to donate salvageable wildlife to charitable organizations. While is unlikely to be applied to mountain lions, regulations are in place for other species.

You can read more by visiting the state website.

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Environmental Scorecard

League of Conservation Voters

The League of Conservation Voters' scorecard considers the State Legislature's environmental records since 1971. It quantifies the environmental votes of each individual legislator — an important first step in considering accountability — and provides critical qualitative assessments as well. The scorecard will help you to know your legislator before you write a letter in support of cougars.

Click here to view our Activist Guide...

Becoming a Mountain Lion Activist

There are lots of opportunities to take action!

Are you new to mountain lion activism? You want to change your local environment to improve it for cougars... but you don't know how to start. You may feel like you are all alone... but it takes just one person to change the attitudes and lifestyles of hundreds of others. You don't need to belong to a group. It doesn't take special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about cougars to want to help them survive. You've already done the hard part, now let us help you with the next step.



Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Commonly abbreviated as: MNDNR

Wolf and Furbearer Biologist
John Erb
1201 E. Hwy. 2
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
john.erb@dnr.state.mn.us
(218) 999-7930









Please write to the director and express your concern for lions in Minnesota.

Thank the agency when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.

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