Effective July 1, the DNR will administer and enforce certain statutes and rules governing white-tailed deer farms. Review below the areas of DNR responsibility that directly impact white-tailed deer farms and farmers.
Responsibility for all other farmed cervids, including elk, falls to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.
Farmed deer contacts
Farmed deer and captive species coordinator
1509 First Ave. North
Fergus Falls, MN 56357
Lt. Robert Haberman
Animal health coordinator
1201 East Highway 2
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
Farm information and resources
Use Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete these forms
- Download: Annual or physical inventory
- Download: Fawn reporting form
Movement or death report
- Download: Movement or death of white-tailed deer
CWD sample submission
- Download: Submission of CWD samples
Transfer of registration
- Download: One-time transfer of an existing operation to a family member
- Required of the entire facility by Dec. 31 to ensure that all standards are being met including:
- Fence and gate requirements
- Animal identification requirements
- General records management
Annual inspection report
- Required of each registered farmed white-tailed deer herd by Dec. 31. Owner must verify the inventory and an accredited veterinarian must sign the form.
- Required for all annual inventories and inspections that occur after Oct. 31.
- Required every three years for each registered white-tailed deer herd.
- Each identification tag on every deer must be physically verified (hands-on) by an accredited veterinarian.
- An inspection report must be submitted to the DNR by Dec. 31 every three years based on the year of the initial physical inventory.
DNR is developing an online payment portal for producers to pay fees. Until the portal is in place, all fees must be paid by check and sent to:
Farmed deer and captive species coordinator
1509 First Ave. North
Fergus Falls, MN 56357
Responsibility for administering and enforcing the statutes and rules for farmed white-tailed deer are, transferred from the Board of Animal Health to the Department of Natural Resources.
- The Board of Animal Health retains responsibility for administering and enforcing the statutes and rules for all other farmed cervidae.
- The commissioner of natural resources may contract with the Board of Animal Health to administer some or all statutes and rules for farmed white-tailed deer.
- The commissioner of natural resources must enter into an interagency agreement with the Board of Animal Health which establishes roles and responsibilities necessary to protect the health of cervidae in Minnesota consistent with state regulations.
No new registrations are allowed for possessing white-tailed deer.
- This provision does not prohibit a person holding a valid registration from selling or transferring the person's registration to an immediate family member.
- A valid registration may be sold or transferred only once. Before the DNR approves a sale or transfer, they must verify that the registration is in good standing and the eligible family member must pay a onetime transfer fee of $500.
Except for farmed cervidae premises location data collected and maintained under state law, the following data collected and maintained by the Board of Animal Health related to registration and identification of premises and animals are classified as private or nonpublic:
- Names and addresses.
- Location of the premises where animals are kept.
- Identification number of the premises or the animal.
- A person must not import live cervidae into the state from state or province where chronic wasting disease has been detected in the farmed or wild cervid population in the last five years unless the animal has tested not detected for chronic wasting disease with a validated live-animal test.
- Live cervidae or cervidae semen must originate from a herd that has been subject to a state-, federal- or provincial-approved chronic wasting disease herd certification program and that has reached a status equivalent to the highest certification.
- This provision does not apply to the interstate transfer of animals between two facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
- All animals from farmed cervidae herds that are over six months of age that die or are slaughtered must be tested for chronic wasting disease.
- The Board of Animal Health and the commissioner of natural resources must consult the Minnesota Center for Prion Research and Outreach at the University of Minnesota and incorporate peer-reviewed scientific information when administering and enforcing statutes and rules pertaining to chronic wasting disease and farmed cervidae.
- Once the U.S. Department of Agriculture has determined that a non-invasive live-animal test capable of accurately detecting chronic wasting disease in white-tailed deer is available, the Board of Animal Health must have each farmed white-tailed deer tested for chronic wasting disease using a noninvasive live-animal test offered by a public or private diagnostic laboratory.
- A validated live-animal test is required when moving farmed white-tailed deer six months old and over from any premises within the state within 12 weeks of movement.
- The Board of Animal Health may institute additional live-animal chronic wasting disease testing protocols.
- Live-animal testing results must be submitted to both the commissioner of natural resources and the Board of Animal Health in the form required by both agencies.
- If a farmed white-tailed deer tests positive using a noninvasive live-animal test, the owner must have the animal destroyed and tested for chronic wasting disease using a postmortem test approved by the Board of Animal Health.
- If a farmed white-tailed deer tests positive for chronic wasting disease using a noninvasive live-animal test, the owner must depopulate the premises of farmed cervidae as required under Minnesota state law.
- An owner of farmed cervidae that test positive for chronic wasting disease is responsible for proper disposal of the animals, as determined by the board.
- A herd owner is liable in a civil action to a person injured by the owner's sale or unlawful disposal of farmed cervidae if the herd owner knew or reasonably should have known that the farmed cervidae were infected with or exposed to chronic wasting disease. Action may be brought in a county where the farmed cervidae are sold, delivered or unlawfully disposed.
- A herd owner is liable to the state for costs associated with the owner's unlawful disposal of farmed cervidae infected with or exposed to chronic wasting disease. This paragraph may be enforced by the attorney general on behalf of any state agency affected.
- The owner of a premises where chronic wasting disease is detected must:
- Allow and cooperate with inspections of the premises as determined by the Board of Animal Health and Department of Natural Resources conservation officers and wildlife managers.
- Depopulate the premises of cervidae after the federal indemnification process has been completed or, if an indemnification application is not submitted, within 30 days.
- Maintain the fencing required under Minnesota state law on the premises for ten years after the date of detection.
- Not raise farmed cervidae on the premises for at least ten years.
- Before signing an agreement to sell or transfer the property, disclose in writing to the buyer or transferee the date of depopulation and the requirements incumbent upon the premises and the buyer or transferee under this paragraph.
- Record with the county recorder or registrar of titles, as appropriate, in the county where the premises is located a notice, in the form required by the board, that meets the recording requirements of sections 507.093 and 507.24 and includes the nearest address and the legal description of the premises, the date of detection, the date of depopulation, the landowner requirements under this paragraph and any other information required by the board.
- An owner must immediately notify DNR of the escape if animal is not returned or captured by owner within 24 hours of escape.
- After 72 hours of an animal escape, a licensed hunter may kill and possess escaped farmed cervid in a lawful manner and is not liable to the owner for the loss of the animal.
- The hunter must notify the DNR within 24 hours of possessing the escaped tagged animal. If the animal is killed by hunter or DNR, DNR is responsible for CWD testing the animal.
- All perimeter fences for farmed cervidae must be at least 96 inches in height and be constructed and maintained in a way that prevents the escape of farmed cervidae or entry into the premises by free-roaming cervidae.
- The fence must prevent physical contact between farmed cervidae and free-roaming cervidae. Expand fencing standard below for details.
- The Board of Animal Health or commissioner of natural resources may determine whether the construction and maintenance of fencing is adequate to prevent physical contact or escape under this subdivision and may compel corrective action when fencing is determined to be inadequate.
- Fence deficiencies must be repaired within a reasonable time, not to exceed 14 days.
To prevent physical contact between farmed and free-roaming cervidae, DNR will be utilizing the same BAH approved standards for exclusionary fencing that is being used in CWD endemic areas.
Those BAH approved designs include:
- Double 96-inch high fence spaced at least 48 inches apart.
- Secondary fence attached to the outside of your existing 96-inch high fence, which must be at least 48 inches tall. Requirements of this fence are:
- It must be welded wire mesh with holes no larger than 2 inches x 4 inches.
- There must be at least 11 inches of space between your existing fence and the new secondary fence.
- It must start 6 inches above ground, and the top must be at least 54 inches in height.
- Solid fencing attached to existing 96-inch high fence [e.g., shade cloth, wood, tin], which must be at least 48 inches in height from ground
- Optionally, the secondary fence can be electric comprised of at least 4 strands of 12.5 gauge wire with the bottom wire no higher than 10 inches and the top wire at least 48 inches high but no higher than 60 inches off the ground.
There are 125 registered white-tailed deer farms in Minnesota with a total of 3,325 deer. Changes in state law enacted in 2023 transferred management authority of white-tailed deer farms from BAH to DNR.
DNR had regulatory authority over white-tailed deer producers until 2005, when the Legislature transferred that authority to BAH. In 2021, the Legislature granted co-authority to DNR and BAH.