CWD regulations in Minnesota

Due to the regular amending of regulations in Minnesota, it is recommended that before hunting you check these CWD regulations, as well as those of any other states or provinces in which you will be hunting or traveling through while transporting cervid carcasses. The contact information for Minnesota can be seen below:

Click a section to expand:


Testing Laboratories in Minnesota

Minnesota- University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
1333 Gortner Avenue St. Paul, MN 55108
612-625-8780 or 800-605-8787

Locations Where CWD Was Found

Counties (Accurate as of 03/2018)

Olmsted, Fillmore and Winona counties

Most Recent CWD News

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  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, August 30, 2002

    Chronic Wasting Disease found in a farmed elk from Aitkin County. Case marks the first time this disease has been detected in Minnesota

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Board of Animal Health today announced that a single animal

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  • Though chronic wasting disease hasn't been found in Minnesota's wild deer herd, hunters this fall will be able to get their deer tested for the disease by the University of Minnesota's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in St. Paul.

    The lab is getting special equipment and expects

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  • More than 150 veterinarians at 98 clinics have agreed to collect brain stem samples for Chronic Wasting Disease testing from deer harvested during this fall's firearms season.

    Samples will be sent to the University of Minnesota's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in St. Paul for testing. Hunters

    Read More
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  • Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has taken the headlines in the media on numerous occasions as of late. I know that here at the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) we have been heavily involved in the disease since it was discovered in Wisconsin back in March

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  • Minnesota deer hunters fearful of chronic wasting disease can have their animals tested at a university lab this fall.

    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources assistant wildlife director, Ed Boggess, said the testing will give skittish hunters "reassurance."

    "However, based on the best scientific information available,

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  • The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced today that no positives were found in five additional chronic wasting disease test results from deer killed in the nine-square-mile Aitkin surveillance area.

    A total of 69 deer have been tested for CWD from the surveillance area, which

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    • 3
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Category Archives: Minnesota

MN – Deer farm infected with CWD in 2016 identifies additional cases

Saint Paul, Minn – Chronic wasting disease was detected in four harvested samples from farmed deer at a quarantined farm in Crow Wing County. The farm has been under movement restrictions and monitored by the Board since December 2016 when two white-tailed deer tested positive for the disease. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health confirms recent samples were CWD positive in four deer.

-9-year-old female mule deer.
-1.5-year-old female white-tailed deer.
-2-year-old male white-tailed deer.
-2-year-old female mule deer.

“We’ve been working with the herd owner for the past two years to monitor the deer and look for any new detections of the disease,” said Assistant Director Dr. Linda Glaser. “The biggest change following this new detection will be to extend our deadline to monitor the herd.”

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently in the second year of sampling wild deer for CWD in Crow Wing County as a result of the farm’s earlier infection.

This past Saturday and Sunday, the opening weekend of the firearms deer-hunting season, the DNR sampled hunter-killed deer in Crow Wing County and results are not yet available. No CWD has been found in wild deer since the DNR began its surveillance in Crow Wing County in 2017.

The DNR typically conducts three years of surveillance of wild deer in a specific area where CWD is found in a farmed deer. This newest discovery in farmed deer didn’t change how DNR conducted its recent sampling during opening weekend in Crow Wing County, said Lou Cornicelli, the DNR’s wildlife research manager.

However, DNR staff will meet with Board of Animal Health staff to assess the risk factors associated with this latest discovery at the farm and determine whether a fourth year of surveillance of wild deer is necessary, Cornicelli said.

“We appreciate all the cooperation hunters provided us during this past opening weekend with surveillance in Crow Wing County,” Cornicelli said.

CWD is a disease affecting members of the deer and elk family caused by an abnormally shaped protein, a prion, which can cause damage to brain and nerve tissue. There is no danger to other animal species. The disease is most likely transmitted when infected deer and elk shed prions in saliva, feces, urine and other fluids or tissues. The disease is always fatal, and there are no known treatments or vaccines. The Board advises testing all Cervidae for the disease. Consuming infected meat is not advised.

End of article
Article found on the MN Board of Animal Health website.

State auditor set to review agency that oversees deer and elk farms

Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor has tentative plans to review the state’s management of deer and elk farms in response to urgings from legislators, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and at least two deer-hunting groups.

Judy Randall, deputy legislative auditor, said Tuesday that concerns about the possible spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) from privately owned captive deer and elk to the state’s wild herd of 1 million whitetails sparked interest in an evaluation. The topic was sixth on this year’s list of audit priorities set by the bipartisan Legislative Audit Commission. The top five priorities will receive immediate attention, but resources should be available later this year to look at the Board of Animal Health (BAH), Randall said.

“We’ll be picking it up in the fall to see if there’s something we can do that’s useful,’’ she said.

Besides regulating deer and elk farms, BAH oversees more traditional livestock operations as well as governing poultry producers and commercial dog and cat breeders. The agency reported about $6.5 million in expenditures for fiscal year 2016, ranking it low on selection criteria in terms of money. But the auditor’s office said in a briefing paper that the agency’s oversight of farmed deer and elk is a timely topic and could have a significant impact.

“Failure to respond appropriately to a disease outbreak could result in significant damage to the state’s livestock industry or wildlife resource, which could have ripple effects on the state’s economy,’’ the briefing paper said.

The review would come on the heels of Minnesota’s largest-ever outbreak of CWD in wild deer. Months of DNR disease surveillance starting last fall in southeastern Minnesota led to 11 confirmed cases of CWD, including 10 cases clustered near Preston. The cause is under investigation.

Tests confirm 2 CWD-positive deer near Lanesboro

DNR initiates disease response plan; offers hunters information on field dressing

Test results show two deer harvested by hunters in southeastern Minnesota were infected with Chronic Wasting Disease, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

One deer has been confirmed as CWD-positive. Confirmation of the second is expected later this week. The deer, both male, were killed near Lanesboro in Fillmore County during the first firearms deer season.

The two deer were harvested approximately 1 mile apart. These are the only deer to test positive from 2,493 samples collected Nov. 5-13. Results are still pending from 373 additional test samples collected during the opening three days of the second firearms season, Nov. 19-21.

CWD is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. While it is found in deer in states bordering southeastern Minnesota, it was only found in a single other wild deer in Minnesota in 2010.

The DNR discovered the disease when sampling hunter-killed deer this fall in southeastern Minnesota as part of its CWD surveillance program. Dr. Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager, said hunter and landowner cooperation on disease surveillance is the key to keeping the state’s deer herd healthy.

“We were proactively looking for the disease, a proven strategy that allows us to manage CWD by finding it early, reacting quickly and aggressively to control it and hopefully eliminating its spread,” he said.

It is unknown how the two CWD-positive deer, which were harvested 4 miles west of Lanesboro in deer permit area 348, contracted the disease, Cornicelli said.

“We want to thank hunters who have brought their deer to our check stations for sampling,” he said. “While finding CWD-positive deer is disappointing, we plan to work with hunters, landowners and other organizations to protect the state’s deer herd and provide hunters the opportunity to pass on their deer hunting traditions.”

These are the first wild deer found to have CWD since a deer harvested in fall 2010 near Pine Island tested positive. It was found during a successful disease control effort prompted by the detection in 2009 of CWD on a domestic elk farm. The DNR, landowners and hunters worked together to sample more than 4,000 deer in the Pine Island area from 2011 to 2013, and no additional infected deer were found.

The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Health Organization have found no scientific evidence that the disease presents a health risk to humans who come in contact with infected animals or eat infected meat. Still, the CDC advises against eating meat from animals known to have CWD.

With the muzzleloader deer season stretching into mid-December and archery season open through Saturday, Dec. 31, hunters should take these recommended precautions when harvesting deer:

  • Do not shoot, handle or consume any animal that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick.
  • Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing your deer.
  • Bone out the meat from your animal. Don’t saw through bone, and avoid cutting through the brain or spinal cord (backbone).
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. Normal field dressing coupled with boning out a carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes.
  • If you have your deer or elk commercially processed, request that your animal is processed individually, without meat from other animals being added to meat from your animal.

The DNR already has begun implementing the state’s CWD response plan. Three additional CWD testing stations were opened in Fillmore County last weekend and electronic registration was turned off in two additional deer permit areas.

“We’ll wait until the late 3B firearms season concludes this weekend and analyze test results from all the samples we collect from hunters,” Cornicelli said. “That will provide a better indication of the potential prevalence and distribution of CWD so we can determine boundaries for a disease management zone and the actions we’ll take to manage the disease and limit its spread.”

The DNR began CWD testing in southeastern Minnesota again this fall in response to expanded CWD infections in Wisconsin, Illinois, and northeast Iowa, as well as new and growing infections in Arkansas and Missouri. The increasing prevalence and geographic spread of the disease also prompted an expanded carcass import restriction that does not allow whole carcasses of deer, elk, moose and caribou to be brought into Minnesota.

The discovery of CWD in wild deer reinforces the need for the vigilance that disease surveillance and carcass import restrictions provide. Although inconvenient, hunter cooperation with these measures help protect Minnesota’s deer herd.

“Working with landowners and hunters to better protect deer from disease is vital to Minnesota’s hunting tradition and economy and most important, the deer population in general,” Cornicelli said. “In states where CWD has become well-established in wild deer, efforts at elimination have been unsuccessful. Research has shown that if established, the disease will reduce deer populations in the long term. Nobody wants this to happen in Minnesota.”

Because much of southeastern Minnesota’s land is privately owned, the DNR will work with landowners when collecting additional samples to assess disease distribution and reduce the potential for CWD to spread. Sample collection could take the form of a late winter deer hunt, landowner shooting permits and sharpshooting in conjunction with cooperating landowners who provide permission.

“Those decisions will be made after surveillance is done this hunting season,” Cornicelli said.

The DNR has been on the lookout for CWD since 2002, when the disease first was detected at a domestic elk farm in central Minnesota. In recent years it has put additional focus on southeastern Minnesota; the region abuts Wisconsin and northeastern Iowa. Wisconsin has 43 counties affected by CWD and the disease has been detected in northeastern Iowa’s Allamakee County.

Since 2002, the DNR has tested approximately 50,000 deer, elk, and moose for CWD.

CWD is transmitted primarily from animal-to-animal by infectious agents in feces, urine or saliva. The disease also can persist for a long time in the environment and may be contracted from contaminated soil. The movement of live animals is one of the greatest risk factors in spreading the disease to new areas.

For more information, including maps of CWD surveillance areas, frequently asked questions, hunter information and venison processing, visit the DNR’s CWD homepage. Landowners, hunters and citizens can stay engaged and informed by visiting the CWD page and signing up to receive an email automatically when new information on CWD management becomes available.

No CWD detected among sampled deer in southeastern Minnesota

No chronic wasting disease (CWD) was detected in hunter-harvested deer in southeastern Minnesota during the 2014 firearms season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The discovery of the disease in a wild deer earlier this year in Allamakee County, Iowa, triggered the Minnesota DNR’s surveillance effort. The Iowa county borders Houston County in southeastern Minnesota.

During the Minnesota firearms deer season, hunters voluntarily brought deer to be sampled for CWD at eight registration stations throughout deer permit areas 348 and 349. In total, the DNR sampled 411 deer within the two permit areas.

“We thank Minnesota’s deer hunters for their cooperation,” said Erik Hildebrand, wildlife health specialist. “By voluntarily allowing us to take samples from their deer, hunters are helping us keep our state’s deer herd healthy.”

This latest sampling effort suggests that CWD does not exist in Minnesota’s wild deer herd, or is at a level so low that it has not been detected during many years of surveillance.

The DNR does respond to reports of suspect deer across the state and tests them according to symptoms exhibited. Statewide, the DNR tests about 75 sick deer each year.

Detailed information on management, surveillance and a full version of the DNR’s response plan can be found online.

No wild deer test positive for CWD

None of the more than 2,300 deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in three specific areas of Minnesota have tested positive for the disease.

Deer were tested in an area of southeastern Minnesota as part of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) ongoing CWD surveillance and disease management efforts in the Pine Island area. Deer also were tested as a precaution in east-central Minnesota because the disease was discovered in wild deer from nearby Wisconsin. Testing was done in the north metropolitan area because a captive European Red Deer herd in North Oaks tested positive for the disease.

Testing will continue in southeastern Minnesota and the north metropolitan area. Surveillance in deer permit areas 159, 183, 225 and St. Croix State Park will be discontinued.

“The results are encouraging in southeastern Minnesota,” said Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program director. “To date, the only CWD positive deer we’ve found is the one discovered from the 2010 hunting season that prompted our surveillance.”

In the southeast, 1,195 deer tested negative for the disease in the CWD management zone during 2012, marking the second consecutive year of no positives being detected. Deer tested were harvested during archery, firearm and muzzleloader seasons.

“Cooperation from hunters has been outstanding”, said Erik Hildebrand, DNR wildlife health specialist. “There is a lot of support for ensuring Minnesota has a healthy deer herd in the southeast.”

A helicopter survey conducted in early March within the CWD management zone indicated the objective of reducing deer population density in deer permit area 602 has been met. As a result, the area will be designated as intensive rather than unlimited for this fall’s hunt, allowing hunters to harvest up to five deer.

“A shift away from unlimited antlerless harvest to an intensive designation reflects recent survey results but continues our focus on managing densities while the area is still under CWD surveillance,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program coordinator.

In east-central Minnesota, 1,092 samples were collected during the opening weekend of the firearm deer season. In the north metro area, 180 deer that were killed by vehicles, removed through city deer reduction permits or harvested by archery hunters in the both Ramsey and Anoka counties were tested.

“The thousands of hunters who willingly donated a sample for the disease surveillance effort make these tests possible,” Carstensen said. “We appreciate hunter commitment to ensuring the health of Minnesota’s wild deer population and the help of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, both of which make DNR disease surveillance efforts much easier.”

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