Chronic Wasting Disease management

Portions of southeastern Minnesota will be tested in 2016

Map showing location of CWD check stations in southeastern Minnesota during 2016

CWD sampling will occur in areas shaded gray

Deer harvested in some areas of southeastern Minnesota during the 2016 firearms deer season must be registered in person so DNR can collect samples to test for Chronic Wasting Disease.

Testing for the disease is the best way to protect Minnesota deer from expanded CWD infections in Wisconsin and northeast Iowa as well as new and expanding infections in Arkansas and Missouri.

Deer permit areas where a total of 2,700 samples will be collected are 339, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349. At least 300 samples will be collected in each permit area with the exception of 346 and 349, where 450 samples will be collected in each.

DNR is working with taxidermists in these areas to collect samples prior to the Saturday, Nov. 5, opening of the firearms season. Those sampling efforts may shorten the time phone and internet registration will be turned off.

To help reach surveillance quotas, participating hunters will be entered in a drawing for a packaged Bear Wild Bow from Bluffland Whitetails; CVA Optima V2 .50 caliber muzzleloader from Bluffland Whitetails; and .50 caliber CVA Wolf muzzleloader with starter kit from the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. Also, every hunter who donates a sample will be given a DNR cooperator patch as a small token of appreciation.

Registration instructions

Registration stations

Participating taxidermists

Prevention is the best approach

Yellow areas indicate locations in the United States and Canada infected with CWD.

CWD in North America

DNR conducts CWD surveillance to keep Minnesota deer healthy. The prevalence and geographic spread of CWD is increasing. Taking steps to better protect deer from disease is vital to Minnesota's hunting tradition and economy.

An additional protection prevents whole carcasses of deer, elk, moose and caribou from anywhere in North America to be brought in to Minnesota. Until August 2016, whole carcasses could be brought in if they were not harvested in an area infected with CWD.

Past CWD results encouraging

Results of DNR's ongoing CWD surveillance efforts suggest that the disease either does not exist in Minnesota deer or is present at an undetectable level.

Since 2002, DNR has tested approximately 50,000 Minnesota white-tailed deer for CWD. The only wild deer to test positive for the disease was harvested in 2010 near Pine Island.

Subsequent sampling of more than 4,000 deer in the Pine Island area from 2010 to 2012 failed to identify any additional infected deer.

Recent focused surveillance efforts

2014: Triggered by the detection of several CWD-infected deer in 2014 from Iowa's Allamakee County, the Minnesota DNR collected 411 samples in southeastern Minnesota deer permit areas 348 and 349. All test results were negative.

2012-2014: In mid-2012, a captive European red deer (Cervus elaphus) was found infected with CWD in a herd of approximately 400 animals from North Oaks. In response, DNR collected samples from 350 deer, all within a 10-mile radius of the farm on the northeastern edge of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. All test results were negative.

What is CWD?

The ribs of this emaciated male deer are clearly visible, an indication it is infected with CWD.

A deer infected with CWD

CWD is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose. It causes a characteristic spongy degeneration of the brains of infected animals resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death.

CWD belongs to a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Within this family of diseases, there are several other variants that affect domestic animals:

  • Scrapie, which has been identified in domestic sheep and goats for more than 200 years;
  • Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle (also known as "mad cow disease"); and
  • Transmissible mink encephalopathy in farmed mink.

More information