December CWD hunts for Minnesota deer hunters

Deer hunters seeking additional opportunities can harvest deer in late season chronic wasting disease management hunts in the southeast, south metropolitan area and along the Minnesota-North Dakota border.

Hunting dates are Friday, Dec. 17, through Sunday, Dec. 19, and Friday, Dec. 31, through Sunday, Jan. 2. Deer permit areas open to these CWD management hunts are 261, 262, 343, 605, 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649 and 655. Hunters may participate in both hunts.

A hunter may use any unfilled archery, firearms, muzzleloader or landowner deer hunting license. Unfilled bonus permits and early antlerless permits also may be used. The hunting method used must match the hunter’s deer license. Hunters who have filled their license may purchase disease management permits for $2.50 to participate.

There are no restrictions on the number of deer – antlerless or antlered – that a hunter may take. Unlike other hunts, disease management permits may be used to tag both antlered and antlerless deer. Bonus permits and early antlerless tags can only be used to tag antlerless deer.

CWD sampling is mandatory for both hunts. Harvested deer must be taken to a staffed or self-service station. Staffed sampling stations will be open 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the hunts. Stations also will be open from 9 a.m. – noon on the Monday following each hunt. A complete list of station locations and hours is available on the DNR website.

Carcass movement restrictions apply during these hunts in all areas except the northwest hunts along the Minnesota-North Dakota border in permit areas 261 and 262. Hunters there are encouraged to not move whole carcasses from either area. Complete details on carcass movement restrictions and how to comply is available on the DNR website.

Hunters must obtain permission to hunt on private land but may hunt wildlife management areas and other public lands that are normally open to deer hunting within the designated deer permit areas.

Some public lands where deer hunting is not normally allowed will also be open to hunting during the CWD management hunts. Permits to hunt are required in some of these areas to limit the number of hunters. These permits will be available from any DNR license vendor on a first-come, first-served basis starting at noon on Friday, Dec. 3.

Permits are available for both weekends but are only valid for the weekend specified. Hunters may only obtain one permit, so they must choose which weekend they want to participate. The additional public lands open to hunting are:

Rushford Sand Barrens Scientific and Natural Area; no permit required
Savage Den SNA; no permit required; archery only
Cannon River Turtle Reserve SNA; no permit required; only portions in permit area 605 are open
Forestville Mystery Cave State Park; permit required
Pin Oak Prairie SNA; permit required
Great River Bluffs State Park and Kings and Queens SNA; permit required
Beaver Creek Valley State Park; permit required
Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area; no permit required; archery only in the Carver Rapids unit
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge; archery only; no permit required; special regulations must be followed
Vermillion Highlands WMA is closed to public hunting during both late-season hunts.

Complete information about the hunts, which the DNR conducts to help assess potential disease spread and reduce the number of deer to help mitigate the risk of CWD transmission, is available on the DNR website.