Minnesota Deer

Hunters who harvest a deer, elk or moose out of state cannot bring the entire animal back to Minnesota.

Hunters who harvest a deer, elk or moose out of state cannot bring the entire animal back to Minnesota.

The restriction has been in place since 2016 under rules adopted by the Department of Natural Resources. In 2019, the carcass import ban was enacted in state statute.

“Hunters have been cooperative in the past and we expect that to continue,” said Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program supervisor. “We just want to make sure hunters are aware of the new law so they can make appropriate plans to bring their harvest home.”

The restriction is part of the DNR’s comprehensive strategy to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease to Minnesota deer, elk and moose. Not moving animals, whether alive or dead, eliminates one means by which the disease can spread.

Hunters cannot bring whole deer, elk, moose and caribou carcasses into Minnesota. The state’s prohibition applies to all other U.S. states, Canadian provinces and or other areas, regardless of whether an area has a confirmed infection of chronic wasting disease.

Hunters wanting to bring their harvest back to Minnesota should plan to dress, process or mount animals before returning. They are allowed to bring home:

  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Meat that is boned out or that is cut and wrapped (either commercially or privately).
  • Hides and teeth.
  • Antlers or clean (no brain tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached; and
  • Finished taxidermy mounts.

Nonresidents transporting whole or partial carcasses on a direct route through Minnesota are exempt from the restriction.

“We always tell hunters who want to go out of state to be sure they make a plan ahead of time for what to do if they harvest an animal, including not only how to handle a trophy mount, but also about quartering the animal and bringing back the meat appropriately,” Carstensen said.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.

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