Deer carcass import and movement restrictions

Carcass movement restrictions are part of a comprehensive strategy in keeping Minnesota’s deer, elk and moose healthy by limiting the spread of disease. Legally, only specific parts of cervids can be brought into Minnesota, and deer harvested in chronic wasting disease management or control zones are subject to carcass movement restrictions. 

Importing deer or other cervids from outside the state

It is illegal to import whole deer, elk, moose and caribou carcasses into Minnesota. This prohibition applies to all U.S. states. Canadian provinces, or other areas, regardless of their CWD status.

Only the following parts of deer or other cervids may be brought into Minnesota: 

  1. Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached
  2. Meat that is boned out or that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately)
  3. Hides and teeth
  4. Antlers or clean (no brain tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached
  5. Finished taxidermy mounts

Nonresidents transporting whole or partial carcasses on a direct route through Minnesota are exempt from this restriction.

What if I harvest a deer or other cervid outside of Minnesota that I want to have mounted?

Plan ahead and be proactive. Plan for your taxidermy in the same way you would plan for keeping your meat cold.

  • Prior to hunting, contact your preferred taxidermist who can help you develop a plan for that trophy animal.
  • You will need to cape your animal before bringing it into Minnesota. Either: 
    • Contact a taxidermist near your hunting destination. They will cape animals for a small fee. You can then bring the cape and antlers home to your taxidermist; or
    • Cape the animal yourself. This video demonstrates the caping process so that you are able to legally bring your harvest into Minnesota and minimize the risk of spreading CWD. 
  • For European mounts, all brain and spinal tissue must be removed prior to bringing the head back to Minnesota.

Map highlighting CWD managment zones in north central (DPA 604) and southeast (DPAs 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649, 655), and southeast control zone (DPAs 255, 343, 344).

Transporting deer harvested in Minnesota

Movement of CWD-infected animals (both alive and dead) is one way the disease spreads to new areas. The growing spread of CWD across the United States and Canada has prompted many states to increase their carcass restrictions.

In areas where CWD has been detected, regulations require whole carcasses of deer to stay within specified zones until a “not detected” CWD test result is received.

To help hunters comply with these legal carcass movement restrictions, the DNR will provide dumpsters to allow hunters to dispose of carcasses (head and spinal column) after quartering or butchering so they can leave the CWD areas immediately. A list of taxidermists in the area also will be provided. Additional information will be posted closer to hunting season.

I am not hunting in a CWD management or control zone

There are no carcass movement restrictions for deer harvested outside the CWD management and control zones in Minnesota. This area includes most of Minnesota.

I am hunting in a CWD management zone

These areas are in southeastern and north central Minnesota.

Whole carcasses of all deer, including fawns, taken within a CWD management zone must remain in the zone until a "not detected" test is confirmed. 

The following parts of deer may leave a CWD management zone before a "not detected" test result is confirmed: 

  1. Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached; the main leg bone can remain in each quarter
  2. Meat that is boned out or that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately)
  3. Hides and teeth
  4. Antlers or clean (no brain tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached
I am hunting in the CWD control zone

The CWD control zone is located in a smaller portion of southeastern Minnesota.

Whole carcasses of all deer, including fawns, taken within the CWD control zone must remain inside the CWD control zone or the southeast CWD management zone until a "not detected" test result is confirmed.

The following parts of deer may leave the CWD control zone before a "not detected" test result is confirmed:

  1. Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached; the main leg bone can remain in each quarter
  2. Meat that is boned out or that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately)
  3. Hides and teeth
  4. Antlers or clean (no brain tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached