Deer carcass import & movement restrictions

Current in-state movement restrictions

Currently, the only restrictions for moving carcasses within the state of Minnesota are within CWD Management Zone 603. Whole carcasses, of adult deer (more than one year old) harvested inside deer permit area 603 may not leave the zone until a "not detected" test result has been reported for that deer. Fawns (leass than one year old) may be transported out of the zone after registration and proper tagging by a DNR official.

The following items are permitted to leave the zone before a "not detected" test result has been reported:

  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

Deer harvested in Minnesota outside of the CWD Management Zone may be moved within the state without restrictions.

For the CWD Management Zone, special dumpsters will be in place at the Preston Forestry office to allow hunters to dispose of carcass pieces (head and spinal column) if they plan to take the meat out of the zone immediately.

Are there carcass import restrictions for deer and other cervids harvested outside of Minnesota?

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

This is done as part of a larger strategy to protect Minnesota's wild deer, elk and moose populations.

Only the following parts can be imported into Minnesota:

  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Meat that is boned out or that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately).
  • Hides and teeth.
  • Antlers or clean (no brain tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.
  • Finished taxidermy mounts.
What if I am a non-resident traveling through Minnesota with a carcass?

Non-residents transporting whole or partial carcasses on a direct route through Minnesota are exempt from the carcass import restrictions.

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

The key is to 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 can:
    • 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. There are a lot of videos online that offer step-by-step instruction.
  • For European mounts, all brain and spinal tissue must be removed prior to bringing the head back to Minnesota.

Only the following parts can be imported into Minnesota:

  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Meat that is boned out or that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately).
  • Hides and teeth.
  • Antlers or clean (no brain tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.
  • Finished taxidermy mounts.
Why are there carcass movement and import restrictions in Minnesota?

As part of a comprehensive strategy, DNR has initiated these restrictions to keep Minnesota's deer, elk and moose healthy. Movement of CWD-infected animals (both alive and dead) is one way the disease spreads to new areas. In order to protect Minnesota's wild populations, it is important to reduce the opportunity for the disease to become established.

Minnesota is not alone. The growing spread of CWD across the United States and Canada has prompted many states to increase their carcass restrictions.