CWD tests mandatory in central, north-central and southeast

Hunters in central, north-central and southeast Minnesota need to bring their harvested deer to be tested for chronic wasting disease on opening weekend of firearms deer season Saturday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 4. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is requiring the testing to determine whether CWD may have spread from captive deer to wild deer in central and north-central Minnesota.

The DNR also will require hunters to have their deer tested in much of southeastern Minnesota Nov. 3-4 as well as Saturday, Nov. 17, and Sunday, Nov. 18, because of its proximity to 18 known instances of CWD in wild deer centered around Preston, and to determine if the disease has spread from captive deer to wild deer in Winona County.

The mandatory sampling requirements mean that after field dressing their deer, all hunters in affected permit areas need to take them to a sampling station. DNR staff will remove lymph nodes, and the DNR will submit them for laboratory testing. Hunters should check mndnr.gov/cwd to find the permit areas where sampling is required.

“Hunters help combat CWD spread by submitting samples for our surveillance program,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager. “Thank you to hunters as we work to help safeguard the health of Minnesota’s deer populations.”

Hunters must register their deer by phone, internet or in person. The DNR will not make harvest registration available at CWD sampling stations. The DNR website will have test results available at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck; hunters can enter the nine-digit MDNR number from the deer’s site tag into the search box. The page will then display the results of the test. If the result reads “Pending,” the final results are not yet available.

The DNR reminds hunters who harvest deer in area 603, the disease management zone, that carcass movement restrictions remain in place. Deer cannot be removed from the area until a not detected test result is received. Area 603 hunters must take their deer to one of three sampling stations: Forestville State Park, Strongwell in Chatfield, or Preston.

The DNR will provide space in a refrigerated trailer at its Preston forestry office for area 603 hunters who need to store their deer while waiting for test results. A quartering tent and hanging racks also are available to hunters who choose to properly quarter or de-bone the meat so it is free of brain and spinal column material, which allows the meat or quarters to be immediately moved out of the area.

Hunters not in a mandatory testing area can collect their own lymph node sample and submit it for testing to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Minnesota for a fee. The DNR has made a video showing how to collect a lymph node sample available at mndnr.gov/cwd/videos.html.

The DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd contains complete information about mandatory CWD testing, a video explaining the process, an interactive map showing sampling station locations and a related precautionary feeding ban.