Chronic wasting disease management

CWD-positive deer found in Crow Wing County

Map showing where CWD-positive deer have been found in north-central Minnesota.Click the map above to enlarge it
Download a printable map

DNR has confirmed chronic wasting disease in a wild deer in Crow Wing County. This test result marks the first time in Minnesota the always-fatal neurological disease has been found in a wild deer outside of the southeastern part of the state.

Knowing how many deer there are and where they are is the first step in effective disease management. To accomplish this, DNR will conduct an aerial survey and gather information from its conservation officers and area wildlife staff. Information collected will allow DNR to effectively map its approach.

Gov. Tim Walz also is proposing new funding of $4.57 million over the next two years and $1.1 million annually to combat the disease. Activities funded would include disease surveillance and response; enforcement; and outreach to landowners.

The Crow Wing County deer, an adult female, was found Jan. 23 northeast Merrifield, which is north of Brainerd on the east side of North Long Lake. A conservation officer responded to a report of a deceased deer in the area. Test results confirmed the deer as positive for CWD on Feb. 14.

The DNR began surveillance around a CWD-positive captive cervid facility near Merrifield starting in the 2017 hunting season. With outstanding cooperation from hunters, the DNR has sampled more than 8,600 deer in its north-central surveillance zone during the past two years. None of those deer tested positive. Since this is the first positive wild deer found in the area, DNR is hopeful the disease is isolated.

Test results

  • Is your test in? Type in your DNR number and check for results.
  • All deer that test positive for CWD will be reported on the results page. DNR will directly notify any hunter who harvests a deer that tests positive.

Videos to help hunters

View our how-to videos for instructions on how to quarter a deer, how to cape a trophy deer and how to remove lymph nodes for your own CWD test.

Share the harvest

Hunters can donate deer and people can sign up to receive donated venison through a harvest sharing partnership in southeast Minnesota with the Blufflands Whitetails Association. To participate, hunters simply need to bring their field-dressed deer to the Preston Forestry office. People who would like to receive donated venison can add their name to the first-come, first-served donation list.


Current deer feeding and attractants bans

The deer feeding and attractants ban has expanded and now includes Wabasha County. For definitions of feed, attractants and where the bans are currently in place, visit the feeding and attractant bans page for more information.

2017 sampling results

Fall 2017 mandatory CWD surveillance

Surveillance areaTotal samples collectedPositive
(excluding DPA 603)

CWD Management Zone (DPA 603) surveillance

Surveillance effortTotal samples collectedPositive
Fall Hunting Seasons (Sept. 16- Dec. 31, 2017)1,1856
Late Hunt (Jan. 6-14, 2018)2750
Landowner Shooting Permits (Feb. 10 - Mar. 10, 2018)190

For more information about CWD in Minnesota, including a map of known positives, please visit the About page.

Southeast deer movement study

During March 2018, DNR used a helicopter company to live-capture deer in southeast Minnesota. These deer were equipped with GPS collars to track movements, particularly those of juvenile deer leaving their natal home ranges. This information will help us understand movements and potential spread of CWD in this area.

Collared and ear-tagged deer are not protected and any hunter may harvest them during a hunting season. If you do harvest a collared or ear-tagged deer, please notify DNR by calling 507-380-1858. If you capture any pictures of a collared deer and are willing to share, please email them to [email protected].

For more information about this project, please visit the southeast deer movement study page.