Hunters reminded about whole carcass importation ban

Hunters who harvest deer, elk, moose or caribou outside of Minnesota are reminded that whole carcasses cannot be brought into the state.

The prohibition on importation of whole carcasses of these cervids from anywhere in North America was put into place last year as a proactive measure to reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease in Minnesota and bring consistency to regulations.

“Because of the increasing prevalence and distribution of CWD in North America in both farmed and wild cervids, we decided in 2016 to impose an across-the-board importation ban,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Previously, Minnesota’s Board of Animal Health, the agency responsible for regulating farmed cervids, placed carcass import restrictions on specific areas of North America. Those areas could change based on disease prevalence. Now the carcass import restriction applies permanently to all of North America.

“With the new infections occurring at all times of the year, it made more sense to impose one ban that applied uniformly across the nation. It is now much easier for hunters to interpret this regulation,” Cornicelli said.

This restriction is part of efforts to minimize the opportunity for CWD to become established in Minnesota.

Only the following cervid parts may be brought into Minnesota:

  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached;
  • Meat that is boned-out or that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately);
  • Hides and teeth;
  • Antlers or clean (no brain tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached; and
  • Finished taxidermy mounts.

“We realize this may be a departure from tradition; however, we appreciate the cooperation from our hunting groups and individual hunters as we address this significant disease challenge,” Cornicelli said.

Cornicelli said meat and trophy handling already are part of the trip planning process so taking the additional steps to minimize CWD risk can be added to that process. Another item to consider is the mount itself.

“If you kill an animal you want to mount, you should make those arrangements in the destination state and have it caped before you leave,” Cornicelli said.

Alternatively, hunters can view a video at on how to cape a deer. The same technique can be used on elk or moose. The video also includes helpful information on the carcass importation ban.

Nonresidents transporting whole or partial carcasses on a direct route through Minnesota are exempt from this restriction.

Carcass import information is available at, in the 2017 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook on page 65 and the questions and answers section on the back cover.