New Rules Just Out For 2019 Deer Season; Are They Enough?

[While these rules are for one state only, concerns about ‘zombie deer’ have led to similar rules and stern warnings from game officials in many states. Check with local officials for the latest regulations in your area.]

Aug 29, 2019

Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently updated its chronic wasting disease (CWD) regulations, adding steps designed to keep wild deer herds healthy that will be noticed this year by more hunters.

The state has had a CWD management plan in place since 2011, and experts in the DNR’s wildlife health program updated it in 2018 to reflect the most recent scientific literature, CWD plans from other states and Canadian provinces, and input from a range of CWD experts.

Barbara Keller, PhD, the DNR’s big game leader, said the new management plan sets the stage for how the state responds to new CWD developments and streamlines the regulation update process.

Putting together a management plan was a lengthy process that incorporated a lot of public input, as well as the best available science, she said.

Lou Cornicelli, PhD, the DNR’s wildlife research manager, said in a statement that many Minnesotans, not just hunters, share the desire for a healthy deer population.

Deadly ‘Zombie Deer’ Disease Is Spreading. Could It Strike People, Too?

“The management actions we’ve built into this fall’s deer hunting regulations are critical for protecting deer now and preserving this resource for future generations,” he added.

Management zone expansion leads to regulation changes

According to the DNR, surveillance in 2018 found more detections and spread to new areas outside of one of the southeastern Minnesota management zones, including CWD-positive deer in the state’s Houston and Winona counties.

Based on the developments, the state has expanded the management zone and renamed the permit area in that part of the state as the “600 series” to better highlight CWD management in the area.

Animal health officials have established a new control zone in southeast Minnesota that borders its CWD management zone, which includes three permit areas.

The state also has a CWD management zone in north central Minnesota near where CWD was detected at a Crow Wing County deer farm … Read more. 

News Release

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

State targets CWD by expanding hunting, limiting deer-to-deer contact

2019 season regulations designed to control disease for long-term health of Minnesota’s wild deer

Minnesota is taking a three-pronged approach to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease and keep Minnesota’s wild deer population healthy. 

“Whether you’re someone who just likes seeing white-tailed deer or a hunter who looks forward to enjoying venison for dinner, many Minnesotans share the desire for a healthy deer population,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “The management actions we’ve built into this fall’s deer hunting regulations are critical for protecting deer now and preserving this resource for future generations.”

First, the DNR is expanding hunting opportunities and bag limits in areas where CWD has been found in wild deer. Harvesting more deer will reduce the possibility of additional disease spread because there will be fewer deer in lower densities.

The second prong is a deer feeding and attractant ban that affects 18 counties in southeastern and north central Minnesota and a continued feeding ban in six central Minnesota counties.

These restrictions will reduce the potential for close contact between deer. Shared food allows direct deer-to-deer contact. Diseased deer also can contaminate the food even if they are not present when healthy deer come to eat.

Limiting movement of deer carcasses is the third aspect of the DNR’s approach to managing CWD. These measures restrict movement of deer harvested near locations where other hunters have harvested CWD-positive deer.

Hunters in southeast and north central Minnesota should be aware of carcass movement restrictions. Details of these restrictions are available online at mndnr.gov/deerimports.

The restrictions also do not allow whole carcasses of any deer, elk, moose or caribou harvested outside Minnesota to be brought into Minnesota.

“Our deer hunters are integral to our disease management efforts,” said Barbara Keller, DNR’s big game program leader. “We recognize that these new regulations add another level of planning to deer camp preparation, and we are working to give hunters the information and other resources needed to comply with restrictions. CWD is still a relatively rare disease in our state, and we aim to keep it that way.”

Details about how the DNR manages CWD can be found in its CWD response plan available on the DNR website.

More information
For more information on chronic wasting disease, the DNR’s continued efforts to manage the disease and how you can help, visit mndnr.gov/cwd. Hunters should refer to 2019 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations, available online at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting and wherever licenses are sold.