North-central Minnesota CWD management zone (DPA 604)

Dates and information on this page apply to the 2020 season. Details for 2021 are expected to be available by Aug. 2. Some season dates for 2021 and beyond are available by browsing to the section of your choice on the hunting season dates listing.

General information

The DNR conducted surveillance around a CWD-positive captive cervid facility near Merrifield starting in the 2017 hunting season. In February 2019, the DNR confirmed chronic wasting disease in a wild deer found in Crow Wing County less than 0.5 miles from the infected captive facility. Based on this discovery, the DNR designated a new CWD management zone, deer permit area 604, in north central Minnesota for the 2019 hunting season.

Minnesota’s CWD management zones are created when CWD is detected in wild deer. Regulations used in these zones (including increasing hunting opportunities with liberalized bag limits) reduce the risk of the disease spreading and help remove positive deer from the landscape.

Map highlighting the DPA included in the north central CWD management zone: 604.

Map of the north central disease management zone

Interactive map

2020 hunting information

CWD sampling and testing

As part of the DNR’s COVID-19 response, CWD sampling is voluntary for all deer harvested in this CWD management zone. CWD sampling stations are available during all seasons (archery, firearms and muzzleloader).

  • The DNR highly encourages hunters to help by providing the head of any harvested adult deer (1 year or older) at a self-service sampling station during all hunting seasons.
  • Due to uncertainty of COVID-19, station locations could change in each area. Visit this page to see current sampling station locations.
  • You will need to provide the township, range and section of your harvest location. Maps are provided at each station, but hunters are encouraged to have this information for their location of harvest prior to arriving.  

The time it takes to receive CWD test results will vary depending on the number of samples collected. Process your deer as you normally would. Keep processed deer separate and identifiable until test results are received.

Test results for all deer that are sampled will be available online at

What can I harvest?

  • Either sex with a regular license.
  • Hunters may harvest only one buck per hunter per year.
  • Hunters may harvest an unlimited number of antlerless deer by purchasing an unlimited number of disease management permits for $2.50 to take antlerless deer. These permits may be used instead of bonus permits to take antlerless deer in this area.
  • Cross-tagging for antlered bucks is allowed in these zones.
  • Hunters may use either a Statewide (A) or a Late Southeast (B) license during any firearms season.

Is this area affected by carcass movement restrictions?

Yes. Deer carcass movement restrictions apply during all seasons for all deer, including fawns.

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2020 sampling locations for archery, muzzleloader and firearms

Sampling stations in the north central CWD management zone (604)

Map highlighting the DPA included in the north central CWD management zone (604) and sampling stations.All locations have self-service sampling stations available 24/7, unless otherwise noted in the table. Look for an orange "CWD Sampling Station" sign and black barrel (examples: image 1; image 2).


AitkinAitkin DNR Wildlife Office1200 Minnesota Ave. S.
Aitkin, MN 56431
BrainerdBrainerd DNR Wildlife Office1601 Minnesota Drive
Brainerd, MN 56401
CrosbyCroft Mine Historical Park23150 Minnesota Highway 6, Crosby, MN 56441
(parking lot 250 yards east of address)
EmilyEmily Volunteer Fire Department20823 County Highway 1
Emily, MN 56447
NisswaEast Side Public Water Access for Gull Lake5056 Nashway Road
Nisswa, MN 56468
Pine RiverCass County Fairgrounds525 First Street North
Pine River, MN 56474

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What do I do with my carcass after sampling?

Deer carcasses must be disposed of properly to meet deer carcass movement restrictions

To help hunters comply with these legal carcass movement restrictions, the DNR will set up dumpsters where hunters can dispose of carcasses (head and spinal column) after quartering or butchering so they can leave the CWD areas immediately.

Dumpsters for carcass disposal

The following shows current disposal locations. Locations may change. Please check regularly for up-to-date information.


DNR Office

1200 Minnesota Ave. S.
Aitkin, MN 56431
9/19/2020 - 1/1/2021Yes

DNR Office

1601 Minnesota Drive
Brainerd, MN 56401

9/19/2020 - 1/1/2021Yes

Emily Volunteer Fire Departmentt

20823 County Highway 1
Emily, MN 56447
9/19/2020 - 1/1/2021Yes

Fully equipped CWD caracass disposal stationNot all CWD carcass disposal stations are fully equipped as shown.

Meat processor options

The following is a list of some meat processors in the area. Use at your own discretion and call for availability first.

AitkinDave's Wild Game27106 County Road 1156431218-821-8648Whole carcasses and trim
AitkinDouble D's Custom Processing, LLC35878 442nd Place56431218-928-8150Whole carcasses and trim
BaxterVon Hanson Meats – Vernon Center15811 Audubon Way56425218-822-2888Trim and quarters
EmilyEmily Meats/Jones Taxidermy39990 Highway 6 North56447218-763-6328Whole carcasses and trim


Taxidermist information for sampling trophy deer

If you want to have your trophy deer caped or mounted, the following taxidermists can collect the lymph node samples and deliver them to the DNR for voluntary testing. Taxidermists may charge a fee to cape out your deer prior to extracting the samples. Please contact them ahead of time to schedule an appointment or make sure they are available.

Using a taxidermist for sampling will result in a longer turnaround time for your CWD test results.

AitkinGregory Hills Taxidermy42340 352nd Lane56431218-831-6381
BrainerdDavid Ringstrom Taxidermy20334 Lancelot Lane56401218-829-5666
EmilyJones Taxidermy of Emily39990 State Highway 6 N.56447218-763-6328
IrontonAnderson's Taxidermy18785 Tower Road56455218-546-8186
MerrifieldRick Fisher Taxidermy27167 E. Bass Lake Road56465218-765-3028

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