DNR to hold 2 hunts in southeastern Minnesota aimed at limiting CWD spread

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday announced it will hold two special hunts in parts of southeastern Minnesota aimed at limiting the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wild deer.

The hunts will be held Dec. 26-27 and Jan. 2-3 in deer permit area 343, the entire southeast management zone and the south metro management zone.

"Special hunts are an important tool in disease management, allowing us to focus on specific areas where disease has been detected and reduce deer densities in targeted areas," Barbara Keller, big game program leader, said.

The DNR said the hunts also show where disease is more prevalent in the state and helps the department determine where to focus management actions.

Hunters can check the special hunts webpage for more information on the special hunts, including rules, registration options and more. Hunters will be required to drop off the head of any harvested deer at a self-service sampling station in their disease management zone.

The DNR also said hunters will have to be mindful of COVID-19 precautions, such as wearing a mask, keeping a 6-foot distance from others and staying home if feeling sick.

Other key information for the special hunts includes:

  • Hunters must have a valid hunting license and use the appropriate weapon that matches the license to use any unfilled permits from 2020 deer hunting seasons. A disease management permit can also serve as a standalone license.
  • Hunters may purchase an unlimited number of disease management permits. During special hunts, these permits are valid on deer of either sex.
  • Archery hunters participating in the archery season that continues during the special hunts must submit samples for any deer harvested in the permit areas open for the special hunts.
  • Private land makes up most of the area within the hunt area and hunters must have landowner permission to hunt that land.
  • Some state parks, state scientific and natural areas, and federal lands will be open to hunting, with some exceptions or permit requirements, which can be found on the special hunts webpage.

Since CWD was first detected in Minnesota in 2002, the DNR says it has tested more than 90,000 wild deer in the state with 104 wild deer testing positive for CWD.

For more information on chronic wasting disease, including maps of CWD surveillance areas, frequently asked questions and hunter information, click here.

KSTP Hunting Season Guide