ST. PAUL — Minnesota temporarily banned the transport of white-tailed deer in the state due to increasing reports of a fatal disease in the animals.
The Department of Natural Resources on Monday, Oct. 11, put in place an emergency rule ceasing the importation of white-tailed deer into the state and the movement of farmed white-tailed deer around the state. The order comes after a Wisconsin deer farm where animals tested positive for chronic wasting disease shipped 387 deer to five states, including Minnesota and North Dakota. The two shipped to North Dakota were tested and did not have chronic wasting disease.
Three Minnesota deer farms received deer from the infected producer, the department reported. Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal and highly contagious condition in deer, moose and elks that impacts the brain.
“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 news release. “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.”
A Stillwater farm (now out of business) initially received two deer in 2016. The deer were transferred to a farm (now out of business) in Grand Meadow in early 2019. The two deer were then transferred to a Wisconsin farm in late 2019. The DNR is working to determine whether those animals are still alive, or have died and were tested.
A Clear Lake farm received three deer from the Wisconsin farm in the fall of 2017. Two of those deer were killed in early 2021; CWD was not detected in them. The third deer is still alive. The owner is awaiting payment prior to making the animal available for testing. At this time, the entire Clear Lake herd is quarantined.
The pause in the transport of the animals will give the Department of Natural Resources and Board of Animal Health time to track the movement of infected deer and potential infection risk to other Minnesota herds. And exceptions will be granted for deer being transported to slaughter and those on a direct transportation route through Minnesota.
CORRECTION: A prior version of this story misstated the number of deer transferred from a Wisconsin farm infected with chronic wasting disease. It has since been updated.