Minnesota DNR issues emergency rule to further protect white-tailed deer from CWD

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is moving to reduce risk for the state’s white-tailed deer in contracting chronic wasting disease (CWD) as it continues to spread in a neighboring state.

An emergency rule has been issued that temporarily prohibits the importation and movement of farmed white-tailed deer into and within Minnesota. The emergency action takes effect starting Monday and aims to further reduce the spread of CWD and protect the health of the state’s wild deer.

According to the DNR, the temporary ban allows the agency to determine the previous movements of known CWD-exposed deer and potential additional exposures.

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

This action is in response to the discovery that a CWD-positive farm in Wisconsin shipped 387 farmed white-tail deer to farms in seven states, including Minnesota. Three farms in the state 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," DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said in a statement. "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."

The DNR learned last month that three Minnesota farms received the five white-tailed deer from the infected Wisconsin farm. Two of those deer went to farms that are no longer in business, and the two were 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 deers were killed and tested, but 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 the deer lives is currently under quarantine.