Minnesota Hunter Safety Course


Small Mammals

For season dates and bag limits on game animals, consult a current copy of the Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook, available on the DNR website.


(Canis latrans)

The coyote looks similar to the gray wolf but is much smaller, usually between 20 and 40 pounds, but can reach up to 50 pounds. It resides throughout North America, and is usually found in open areas such as grasslands or open plains. The coyote is known as the fastest canid, with an average running speed of 25 to 30 mph.


(Felis Rufus)

The bobcat is a close relative to the lynx and is found throughout the United States, but is more plentiful in the West. It is found in a myriad of habitats including forests, swamps, or arid lands.

The spotting on the bobcat's fur is the main feature that distinct it from the lynx. The bobcat will usually weigh anywhere between 14 and 40 pounds, with the male of the species generally a little larger than the female.



(Felis lynx)

The lynx is very similar in looks to the bobcat, but is a little taller and does not have the spotting on its fur. It will range in weight from 10 to about 40 pounds. It's range is mostly in the northern United States and Canada, and is found mainly in deep forests.


Gray Fox

(Urocyon cinereoargentus)

The Gray Fox is one of three species commonly found in North America. Its fur is gray above, and reddish brown on its neck and belly. Males and females look alike, and are generally between 7 and 13 pounds. It will generally reside in wooded areas.


Red Fox

(Vulpes fulva)

Often confused for the Gray Fox, but has a different coloration. Rusty red fur on its back, with a white underside, and black legs. It is about the same size as the gray fox, and is also found throughout most of North America, in a variety of habitats, from forests to open brushlands.


Fox Squirrel

(Sciurus niger)

This squirrel is native to the East but has since been introduced to other areas and is now also found along the West Coast. Its coloration will vary from gray to black on its back, and from yellow to red to white on the underside. Generally the fox squirrel's tail will be about two thirds the length of its body.


Gray Squirrel

(Scirius carolinensis)

There are two species of gray squirrels, one in the East and one in the West. Both reside in mixed forests. It can look similar to the Fox squirrel, but is smaller (about half the size), and has a more bushy tail.


Eastern Cottontail

(Sylvilagus floridanus)

This is the smallest of the three common rabbit species in the US. Its coloration is generally a brownish-gray, with a reddish-brown nape, and cotton-white below the tail (hence its name). Generally it is found in the eastern United States, with the exception of New England, it can also be found in some areas of the southern US. Its habitat will usually consist of open areas, with brushy cover nearby.


Snowshoe Hare

(Lepus americanus)

The snowshoe hare is found mainly in the Northern US and Canada, in forests, woodlands and thickets. Slightly larger than the cottontail, the snowshoe hare will molt (change its fur) on a seasonal basis. It will have white fur starting in the fall and into the winter, and brown fur from spring and into summer. This change in coloration helps with camouflage.



(Lepus townsendii)

The white-tailed jackrabbit is found through the mid-west and generally resides in grasslands. It is larger than the other two species. In its northern-most range, the jackrabbit will go through seasonal colorations, much like the snowshoe hare, being white in the winter and greyish-brown in the summer.