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Veterans get hunting benefits

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With deer hunting season fast approaching, here are some of the benefits that veterans, active duty Minnesota residents, returning National Guard, and recently released service members are eligible for. These are from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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Residents who have maintained legal residency in Minnesota and who are serving in the U.S. military and stationed outside the state may hunt small game without a license while on leave. They do not need a Minnesota Waterfowl Stamp or Pheasant Stamp but must have a Federal Duck Stamp to hunt waterfowl. They may hunt deer, bear, and wild turkeys without charge after obtaining the appropriate licenses and tags from an ELS license agent by presenting official leave papers, except they may not obtain moose, all-season deer, or multi-zone buck licenses or deer management permits. Such service personnel must carry proof of residency and official leave papers on their person while hunting.

Nonresident spouses of residents on active military duty may obtain resident hunting and fishing licenses. Nonresidents must provide proof of spouse's residency and active military duty.

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 small game and fish without a license. Discharged residents must carry proof of residency and official military discharge papers. All tags required of a licensee must be obtained at no fee.

A free deer license will be issued to 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 military service. Eligibility is limited to one deer license per person. Discharged residents must provide proof of residency and a copy of their official military discharge papers.

Resident veterans with proof of a 100 percent service-related disability may obtain a free Small Game License and a free Firearms or Archery Deer License from an ELS license agent (state stamps not required).

With the case of 100 percent service-connected veterans they will require a letter stating that they are 100 percent service-connected, the award letter from the VA or you Veterans Service Officer and draft a letter stating your disability is 100 percent and this will also meet the requirements. If you have any questions you can check the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Please see your local county veterans service officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by e-mail at david.anderson@co.wadena.mn.us. As always, have a great week.

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