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.
Publish date:

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released a series of changes ahead of the 2020 firearms deer hunting season.

The upcoming season is being affected by the state's ongoing battle with chronic wasting disease (CWD), which is fatal to deer, as well as challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of the contact issues created by COVID-19, the DNR says that sampling for CWD will be voluntary this year, with hunters submitting samples at "unstaffed" stations to allow for social distancing.

Those hunting in disease management zones, control zones, and surveillance area can drop off the head of a deer aged 1-year or older at these stations, and are encouraged to do so to help the DNR monitor the spread of CWD.

There are now seven management, control, or surveillance areas in Minnesota where sampling is encouraged, four of which are new this year after new cases of CWD were detected in wild or farmer deer.

They are as follows:

  • South-metro CWD management zone—created after detection of CWD in a wild deer in Dakota County. This zone is named deer permit area 605.
  • South-metro surveillance area—created after detection of CWD in a wild deer in Dakota County. The area is permit areas 292, 293, 338, 341 and 701.
  • East-central surveillance area—created after detection of CWD in a deer farm in Pine County. This area is portions of permit areas 157, 225, 235, 236 and all of permit area 159.
  • West-central surveillance area—created after detection of CWD in a deer farm in Douglas County. The area is permit areas 213 and 273.
  • North-central management zone – same as last year, covering permit area 604.
  • Southeast management zone – same as last year, covering permit areas 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649 and 655
  • Southeast control zone – same as last year, covering permit areas 255, 343 and 344).
Screen Shot 2020-08-24 at 12.28.44 PM

There are also mandatory carcass movement restrictions in place in all management and control zones, which doesn't allow for deer carcasses to be removed from the zones until a "not detected" test result for CWD is received.

"If hunters do not submit their deer for sampling, they must debone and quarter their deer, in order to transport their harvest," the DNR says. 

There are no carcass movement restrictions in place in surveillance areas.

“While sampling is voluntary, we want to underscore that our carcass movement restrictions remain mandatory in disease management zones,” says DNR wildlife health program supervisor Michelle Carstensen.

"This action is critical in keeping the disease from spreading farther in the state."

The DNR in July expanded its ban on deer feeding and attractants to include Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Rice, Scott and Washington counties. You can find a full list of counties with feeding bans here.

You can find the 2020 DNR Hunting Regulations booklet here.

Next Up


Homicide in Robbinsdale leads to 10-hour standoff in Brooklyn Center

The suspect was at a residence in Brooklyn Center.


St. Paul will not put on fireworks display this year, citing budget concerns

Minneapolis and Stillwater have also canceled their displays this year due to logistical challenges.

minneapolis police

5 people shot overnight in Dinkytown, investigation underway

It happened in the area of 14th Ave SE and 4th St SE.

Luis Arraez

Arráez's triple gives Twins rare extra-inning victory

The Twins scored three runs in the 10th to take Friday's opener.

court gavel

St. Cloud man sentenced after traveling to meet minor he solicited online

Nathan Paul Grondahl learned his fate in a federal court this week.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Report: Contract talks between Kaprizov and Wild have 'gone cold'

The report states Kaprizov is drawing interest from the KHL.


Glensheen Mansion reveals new coffee bar - with fresh donuts

It's located in the historic Carriage House garage space


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

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

Efforts are being taken to minimize chronic wasting disease.

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 to allow some landowners to hunt deer in Crow Wing County

It's part of the battle to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

White tail deer

Virus from midges has been causing deer deaths in Minnesota

Two deaths have been confirmed, and several more are suspected.

White tail deer

DNR: Passenger shot at deer out of driver's side window

The DNR said 'all sense of safety was disregarded.'

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.