Minnesota temporarily bans farmed deer movement

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued an emergency rule that temporarily prohibits the importation and movement of farmed white-tailed deer into and within Minnesota.

This emergency action takes effect today (Oct. 11, 2021) and aims to reduce further spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) and protect the health of Minnesota’s wild deer. The temporary ban will allow us to determine the previous movements of known CWD-exposed deer and potential additional exposures.

The DNR will work thoroughly but efficiently on this effort along with the Board of Animal Health, with which it shares concurrent authority to regulate farmed white-tailed deer. The DNR asks for the full support and cooperation of the farmed deer community.

The DNR is taking this action in response to the discovery that a CWD-positive farm in Wisconsin shipped 387 farmed white-tailed deer to farms in seven states, including Minnesota. Three farms in Minnesota ultimately received a total of five deer from the infected farm.

“This disease poses a clear, immediate and serious threat to Minnesota’s wild deer, and these actions reflect what’s at stake,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “We are committed to doing everything we can to reduce the continued risk of CWD transmission in Minnesota, including from farmed deer to Minnesota’s wild whitetails.”

This temporary movement ban will provide time to track the movement of deer from the infected farm and understand the potential risk to other herds. The epidemiological investigations will show connections among known CWD-exposed herds, identify if there were additional exposed herds, and prevent additional transfer from potentially exposed herds. The rule provides exemptions for deer being transported to slaughter and those being transported on a direct route through the state.

As previously announced, the DNR learned on Sept. 27, 2021 that three Minnesota farms ultimately had received a total of five white-tailed deer from the infected Wisconsin farm. Two of those deer went to farms that no longer are in business, and the two animals subsequently moved back to farms in Wisconsin.

The other three deer were moved to a farm in Minnesota that’s currently active. Two of those deer were killed and tested; they did not test positive for CWD. The third deer is still alive and the owner is awaiting payment prior to making the animal available for testing. The farm where this animal lives is currently under quarantine.