As part of previously announced plans to continue testing of wild deer for chronic wasting disease (CWD) during this fall’s hunting seasons, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be collecting samples from archery deer hunters in designated surveillance areas.

While the majority of effort will take place during the firearms deer season, the DNR is especially encouraging archery deer hunters who take deer in the metro permit areas (228, 337) to submit samples, due to the fact that roughly 1/2 of the deer harvested in these permit areas are from archery hunting. Archers who take a deer in one of the metro surveillance permit areas are encouraged to call their local DNR wildlife office (listed below) to arrange dropping off their deer head. When the deer head is collected, the hunter will be asked a few questions pertaining to where the animal was harvested.

No positive results were found last year in tests on about 10,000 deer. This fall, the goal is to test an additional 13,000 hunter-harvested deer for CWD to complete testing of wild deer throughout the state over the past three years.

All hunters who turn in a sample will receive a cooperator patch and will be automatically entered in a drawing to win one of several firearms and bows that are being provided as an incentive from Gander Mountain, Cabela’s, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Minnesota State Archery Association, and Austin-Halleck muzzleloaders.

While CWD has not been found in Minnesota’s wild deer, hunters should follow these precautions:

  • do not shoot an animal that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick; contact the local DNR conservation officer or DNR wildlife office immediately so an attempt can be made to find and dispatch the animal for testing

  • wear durable rubber gloves when field dressing carcasses and wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing

  • bone out the meat from the animal; don’t saw through bone and avoid cutting through the brain or backbone

  • do not consume brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils or lymph nodes. The normal process of boning meat will remove most, if not all of these tissues.

Testing results will be available at the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us once the sampling for the permit area is completed.

To arrange to drop-off a deer head taken from metro permit blocks, please call one of the numbers below:

North Metro Area Wildlife Office (Forest Lake): 651-296-3450 or 651-296-3779

South Metro Area Wildlife Office (Jordan): 952-492-5464.