To help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is adjusting bans on the feeding of deer in certain parts of the state.
DNR has expanded deer feeding bans in central Minnesota, effective Feb. 24, due to additional discoveries of CWD in captive deer in late 2019.
New counties included in the deer feeding ban are Carlton, Chisago, Douglas, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine and Pope.
The deer feeding ban will remain in Stearns County due to the proximity to Douglas County.
Starting July 1, DNR will remove the feeding ban from Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Renville and Wright counties, as CWD was not detected in any wild deer in the third-consecutive year of wild deer disease testing in central Minnesota.
A deer attractant ban will remain in the following counties in north-central and southeastern Minnesota: Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Hubbard, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Olmsted, Steele, Todd, Wabasha, Wadena and Winona.
“Deer often gather around feed and attractants, and that close contact encourages disease spread,” said Barbara Keller, DNR’s big game program leader. “That’s why we’re asking all Minnesotans to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease by following these feeding and attractant bans.”
Deer attractants can be natural or manufactured and include items containing deer urine, blood, gland oil, feces or other bodily fluid.
In counties where deer feeding is banned, people need to remove any grains, fruits, nuts and other food that entices deer. People who feed birds or small mammals need to make sure that deer cannot access the food; for example, keeping feed at least 6 feet above ground level. In areas where the attractant ban is also in place, people must remove any liquid food scents, salt, minerals and other natural or manufactured products that attract deer.
Find information on feeding and attractant bans at mndnr.gov/cwd/feedban.html.
Additional CWD information
CWD is an always-fatal neurological disease that affects the cervid family, which includes deer, elk and moose. Since CWD was first detected in a captive elk in Minnesota in 2002, DNR has tested more than 90,000 wild deer in the state.
To date, 79 wild deer have been confirmed positive for CWD in Minnesota. Test results, including locations of confirmed positive test results and statistics, are available on the DNR website.
Keeping Minnesota’s wild deer population healthy remains the goal in DNR’s response to CWD. DNR’s three-pronged approach to prevent spread of the disease was announced last August. The department’s CWD response plan may be found online.