Skip to main content

Mandatory CWD testing returns for this year's deer hunting season

Last year, CWD sampling was voluntary due to COVID-19.
Deer hunting blaze orange

Hunters who harvest a deer in certain areas of Minnesota will have to turn in samples of the animal for chronic wasting disease testing. 

And there will be more deer permit areas added to disease zones after CWD was detected in wild and farmed deer in more parts of the state over the past year. 

“Test results show how prevalent chronic wasting disease is in a certain areas, which helps us tailor our management actions to focus on areas where the disease is concentrated,” Erik Hildebrand, DNR wildlife health specialist, said in a news release. “The DNR’s aggressive, risk-based response is based on the best-available science, and hunter-provided samples are a crucial component in helping us monitor the health of our wild deer herd.”

The Minnesota DNR says during opening weekends of firearms A and B seasons (Nov. 6-7 and Nov. 20-21), any deer that's a year or older that's hunted from a deer permit area (DPA) in one of the CWD zones must be submitted for testing.

This does not include DPAs 213 and 273 in west-central Minnesota. Those areas are part of a risk-based surveillance program and will accept voluntary samples until the goal has been reached. 

The CWD zones are in southeastern Minnesota, pockets of central Minnesota and north-central Minnesota (see map below). 

CWD sampling zones for the upcoming deer season. 

CWD sampling zones for the upcoming deer season. 

After opening weekend, voluntary submissions for deer harvested in any CWD management or control zone will be accepted at self-service stations throughout the entire deer hunting season, starting Sept. 18 when the archery season opens. 

Deer harvested in surveillance zone can be sampled voluntarily by making appointments at area wildlife offices.

Follow Bring Me The News on Facebook

DNR staff will be at sampling stations during mandatory weekends, like they were before the 2020 hunting season. 

Last year, the Minnesota DNR called off mandatory testing for CWD due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, sampling for CWD was voluntary, with hunters submitting samples at "unstaffed" stations to allow for social distancing.

This year, staff will follow any Minnesota COVID-19 social distancing or mask requirements that are in place during the mandatory weekends. 

There will also be self-service sampling options where hunters can drop off the deer head rather than have staff take samples at stations. These stations can be found here.

Other changes to this year's deer season include: 

  • There will be a five-deer antlerless bag limit (it was previously unlimited) in DPAs in the CWD management zone. Both bucks and does harvested count toward the bag limit. The bag limit doesn't apply during late CWD hunts in December. 
  • There are carcass movement restrictions in CWD management and control zones this year, which means whole carcasses cannot leave the zones until a "not detected" test result is received. Hunters can debone or quarter their deer to transport it. There aren't any carcass movement restrictions in CWD surveillance zones, where CWD hasn't been detected in wild deer. 
  • The DNR says it "simplified" CWD zone names into three tiers: management zone, control zone and surveillance zone. More information on deer permit areas and CWD zones is in the regulations book. 
  • The DNR notes that all deer permit areas that were in a CWD zone last year will be in a CWD zone this year, with several DPAs added after CWD was detected at a Beltrami County deer facility and elsewhere in the state over the past year. 

The DNR's CWD management page is here. The 2021 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations book is available here

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-09-26 at 6.09.43 AM

Stella's Fish Cafe closes temporarily to investigate viral rodent video

The Uptown restaurant said it was closing temporarily so it could investigate the claims.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz, judge in dispute over Feeding Our Future case

A Ramsey County judge disputed Walz's claims that the Minnesota Department of Education was ordered by the court to resume payments to Feeding Our Future.

ambulance

2 dead, 1 with life-threatening injuries in Hwy. 7 crash

Both drivers were not wearing their seatbelt, according to the State Patrol.

Screen Shot 2022-09-25 at 11.50.33 AM

15-year-old Richfield football game shooting suspect arrested

A 16-year-old accused of instigating the altercation is also in custody.

Police tape

3 arrested after homicide, burglary in Inver Grove Heights

Charges of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary are pending.

fire, firefighter

Woman dies after becoming trapped in Waseca house fire

Police tried to enter the home but heavy smoke prevented them from getting inside.

ambulance

1 dead, 2 with life-threatening injuries in Minnesota crash

The crash happened just after 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Image (1)

School bus carrying students plunges into river southwest of Fargo

None of the kids suffered life-threatening injuries, though some were taken to area hospitals.

Richfield High School

Richfield High School cancels weekend events after shooting

Two men were shot outside the school's football stadium

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 10.21.38 PM

Sound of shots, mass panic at Richfield football game streamed live on YouTube

Gunfire caused panic at a varsity football game Friday night.

Related

White tail deer

Minnesota DNR reveals changes ahead of 2020 deer hunting season

Changes have been made to reflect COVID-19 and the ongoing threat of CWD in deer.

white-tailed deer

Two special deer hunts will be held in Minnesota to combat CWD

The hunts will be held the two weekends after Christmas.

White tail deer

DNR reveals chronic wasting disease figures after deer season

There were 22 deer confirmed with CWD, but all within current disease management zones.

white-tailed deer

DNR to place 26 dumpsters for deer carcasses in CWD-hit areas

With hunting season imminent, the DNR is taking efforts to prevent the spread of CWD.

White tail deer

DNR releases 2019 deer hunting regulations: Here's what's new

Efforts are being taken to minimize chronic wasting disease.

doe, deer

9 more deer on Houston County farm test positive for CWD

The deer farm had a positive case of CWD back in October and was being depopulated.

doe, deer

Deer on southeastern MN deer farm tests positive for CWD

Hunters are encouraged to drop off samples of the deer they kill to be tested for the deadly disease.

deer

7 counties added to deer-feeding ban to prevent CWD spread

It brings the total to 31 of the 87 counties in Minnesota.