DNR temporarily bans moving farmed deer to prevent spread of chronic wasting disease

In an effort to protect the state's wild deer population from chronic wasting disease, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is temporarily prohibiting the movement of all farmed white-tailed deer.

According to a release, the emergency rule, which went into effect Monday, is a temporary action to reduce further spread of the fatal brain disease and protect Minnesota’s wild deer. The action comes in response to the recent discovery of CWD in a farmed white-tailed deer in Douglas County in western Minnesota.

The emergency rule will remain in effect for 30 days.

Earlier this month, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health confirmed an 8-year-old white-tailed doe tested positive for the fatal deer disease in a small, two-deer hobbyist herd. The new discovery in Douglas County has connections to other Minnesota deer farms and the state needs time to investigate locations that either provided deer to, or received deer from, the hobby farm.

The temporary prohibition on all movement of farmed white-tailed deer in Minnesota would help control and contain the current spread of CWD, while allowing the state time to evaluate the outbreak, generate potential solutions to containing and eliminating the disease and protect the wild deer herd, the DNR said. 

Prions, the infectious agent causing the disease, are found in urine, saliva, blood, feces, muscle and antler velvet of infected deer. Disease transmission can occur via direct animal-to-animal contact.

Since CWD was first detected in Minnesota in 2002, the DNR has tested more than 90,000 wild deer in the state. To date, 73 wild deer have been confirmed positive for CWD in Minnesota.