With the Minnesota's opening weekend of firearms seasons fast approaching, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced that testing for chronic wasting disease will be mandatory in specific permit areas.

According to the DNR, mandatory testing applies to opening weekend of the statewide A season, which is Saturday, November 6 - Sunday, November 7, and and opening weekend of the southeast-only B season, Saturday, November 20 - Sunday, November, 21. It is part of their approach designed to limit the spread of the disease and keep Minnesota’s wild deer healthy.

“Protecting our wild deer is a shared responsibility. Thank you to hunters who help combat CWD by submitting samples,” said Barbara Keller, big game program leader. “These samples provide data that help us better understand the prevalence of the disease in wild deer.”

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If you're wondering how hunters will know if they are in an area with the mandatory testing policy in place, all any hunter will need to know is the number of the deer permit area (DPA) where they will be hunting.

The DNR adds hunters also need to consider where and how their harvested deer will be processed and whether a field-dressed animal can be legally transported from the deer permit area where it is harvested.

If CWD testing is required where you plan to hunt opening weekend, you can expect the following policies to be enforced:

  • Hunters must bring any harvested adult deer (one year or older) to a sampling station during that opening weekend.
  • Staffed sampling stations are open from 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Self-service sampling stations are open through Monday, November 8.
  • Deer must be registered before sampling.
  • You will need to provide the township, range and section of your harvest location. Maps are provided at each station but hunters are encouraged to have this information for their location of harvest prior to arriving by using a cell phone or GPS device.

Once opening weekend is over, voluntary submissions for deer harvested in any CWD management or control zone are being accepted at self-service stations through archery deer season, which is open through December 31. Deer harvested in the surveillance zone can be sampled voluntarily by making appointments at area wildlife offices.

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