The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is encouraging anyone planning to hunt deer in the state this fall to plan ahead and check for updated rules regarding chronic wasting disease before heading out into the woods and fields.
Some deer management boundaries have changed since last year, so hunters should double-check to see if the area they plan to hunt is now in a CWD management or surveillance zone with special rules. In particular, new CWD management and surveillance zones have been added in the south metro area.
The DNR has shifted to voluntary sampling for all designated CWD areas this year to facilitate the social distancing required during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hunters in CWD management zones, control zones or surveillance areas are urged to drop off the heads of any harvested deer one year of age or older at an unstaffed sampling station. Check www.mndnr.gov/cwd for locations and instructions.
“Samples are critical in helping us monitor the spread of chronic wasting disease in Minnesota’s wild deer,” said Michelle Carstensen, DNR’s wildlife health program supervisor. “The more samples we receive, the better we understand the prevalence of CWD in these areas and the more information we have to determine the best methods to keep our deer healthy.”
Hunters also should remember that deer carcass movement restrictions are in effect for all CWD management and control zones, located in north-central and southeastern Minnesota, and in the south metro area. Whole carcasses cannot leave a management or control zone until a “not detected” CWD test result is received after providing a sample. Successful hunters can move meat from harvested deer out of management or control zones only after quartering or butchering the animal and leaving the carcass (head and spinal column) in a DNR-provided dumpster. Dumpster locations can be found on the DNR website.
For more information on CWD, the DNR’s continued efforts to manage the disease and how you can help maintain a healthy population of white-tailed deer, visit www.mndnr.gov/cwd. Hunters also can find hunting regulations and information about chronic wasting disease regulations and sampling in the 2020 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations, available online at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting and wherever licenses are sold.