In late September, the Department of Natural Resources learned deer farms in Minnesota were among those that received deer from a Wisconsin farm where chronic wasting disease (CWD) was discovered in August 2021.
According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the farm where CWD was detected sold nearly 400 deer to 40 farms in seven states during the past five years.
The DNR contacted the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) Sept. 27 to verify the authenticity of the report. The BAH confirmed that two Minnesota deer farms had received a total of five deer from the Wisconsin farm between 2016 and 2017. It is unknown if the deer were infected when they were transferred to Minnesota.
“The news that Minnesota deer farms imported deer from a Wisconsin farm infected with CWD is extremely concerning,” said Sarah Strommen, DNR Commissioner. “The DNR is actively considering management responses to this latest threat to Minnesota’s wild deer.”
A Stillwater, Minn., farm (now out of business) initially received two deer in 2016. The deer were transferred to a farm (now out of business) in Grand Meadow, Minn. in early 2019. The two deer were then transferred to a Wisconsin farm in late 2019. The DNR is working to determine whether those animals are still alive or have died and were tested.
A Clear Lake, Minn., farm received three deer from the Wisconsin farm in the fall of 2017. Two of those deer were killed in early 2021; CWD was not detected in them. The third deer is still alive. The owner is awaiting payment prior to making the animal available for testing. At this time, the entire Clear Lake herd is quarantined.
Protecting Minnesota’s wild deer herd from CWD, an always-fatal disease, remains a top priority for the DNR.