Minnesota halts deer importation, movement within state

Wisconsin deer generic

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota officials announced Monday that they’ve imposed an emergency order blocking importation and movement of deer into and within the state to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease.

The decision comes after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported last month that a Wisconsin deer farm infected with the disease sold nearly 400 deer to 40 farms across seven states, including Minnesota, in the past five years.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said in a news release announcing the importation and movement prohibitions that the agency learned on Sept. 27 that Minnesota farms received five deer from the infected Wisconsin farm.

A farm in Stillwater received two deer in 2016. That farm has since closed and the deer were shipped back to Wisconsin in 2019.

The other three deer went to farm in Clear Lake in 2017. That farm is still active. Two of those deer were killed earlier this year and tested negative for CWD. The third deer is still alive and the owner is waiting for payment before killing and testing the deer for disease. Regulators have yet to approve a live test for the disease, which attacks deer’s brains, causing them to act strangely, lose weight and die.

The DNR did not say how long the prohibition would last but officials hope to use the time to track deer movement and identify infected herds.