Chronic wasting disease management

Enhanced statewide approach to combat CWD planned

Map showing counties and locations where CWD has been found in Minnesota

Counties and locations where CWD has been found in Minnesota

The discovery of a wild white-tailed deer infected with CWD within the city of Grand Rapids is prompting the DNR to update its response plan to better reflect a statewide approach to disease surveillance, management, control and education.

The health of Minnesota’s wild deer herd remains a top priority for DNR, and the department always has looked at CWD as a disease that could impact the entire state yet implemented aggressive disease management actions as needed in each area where CWD was found.

This new discovery doesn’t make CWD a statewide problem, but – as the map shows – it does mean we need to take more of a statewide approach.

There now are eight areas spread across Minnesota, from north to south, where CWD has been found in wild or farmed deer. Despite these detections, the disease remains rare in Minnesota.

Since 2002, DNR has tested 106,000 deer statewide and 153 have tested positive. Most of those cases occurred in southeastern Minnesota.

Our enhanced statewide surveillance will include:

  • Updating the DNR's CWD response plan this spring
  • Investigating options for hunters to use a self-mailing kit for free testing statewide
  • Expanding the taxidermist network (partner sampling program) statewide
  • Upgrading and improving current design for self-service sampling stations for hunters

We'll be seeking public input as we explore and implement the ideas above and other options for enhanced statewide surveillance.

Winter information & activities

Priority sections indicated on the map show where culling of deer will occur during winter 2021-22.

Culling activities scheduled

Purple and blue shaded areas on the map at left show priority sections where DNR will be working with U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services this winter to cull deer. Reducing deer populations in known areas infected with chronic wasting disease helps restrict potential disease spread.

Sign up to receive deer meat

You can sign up to receive meat from healthy deer taken during DNR culling efforts to help control the potential spread of CWD. Meat is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. There already are a number of people on the list so add your name today.

CWD zones explained

Every deer permit area affected by chronic wasting disease is designated a management, control or surveillance zone. Hunters must follow the CWD management measures in place for each type of zone.

Management

CWD has been found in wild deer in these areas. Multiple management actions designed to help mitigate disease spread are in place. Management zones have the most restrictions.

Control

This area borders a management zone where CWD in wild deer persists or a slight spread has been documented. This buffer helps prevent further disease spread. Control zones have fewer restrictions.

Surveillance

CWD has been found in captive deer or wild deer in a nearby area. Precautionary management actions in place here can detect an infection early. Surveillance zones have the least restrictions.

Are you hunting in a CWD zone?

Use the map below to find the DPA where you hunt. Clicking the map enlarges it.

Alert for DPAs 261 & 262

The first suspected case of CWD along Minnesota’s border with North Dakota has been found in a wild deer harvested southwest of Climax. Hunters in DPAs 261 and 262 are strongly encouraged to use the self-service sampling stations in Climax and Nielsville throughout the 2021 firearms deer season.

Map of portion of Minnesota showing the fall 2021 CWD zones.

Review CWD information for your DPA

Click the button below that matches the color of the DPA where you hunt. With the exception of permit areas 261 and 262, DPAs not numbered are not impacted by CWD.

Testing is free for deer harvested in permit areas 261 and 262 as well as any other deer permit area designated a CWD surveillance, control or management zone. Hunters outside a CWD zone can collect lymph node samples and pay a small fee for a CWD test. View complete video instructions on how to properly collect a lymph node sample and laboratory submission information.

Information & resources

Chronic wasting disease, commonly referred to as CWD, is a fatal neurological disease that affects cervids, including white-tailed deer. It is found globally and in about half of the states in the U.S. CWD remains relatively rare in Minnesota but is a concern as there is no known cure.

The DNR's management actions are in place to help limit its spread.

Hunter information

What DNR is doing?

What you can do?

Learn more