Minnesota hunters participating in the 2016 Wisconsin deer season are required for the first time to quarter the animals and not bring home whole carcasses, no matter where in the state they harvest a deer.
With the Wisconsin firearms season opening Saturday, the expanded regulation will be new to thousands of Minnesotans. Adam Murkowski, who heads the big game program for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said the carcass importation restriction is a conservation measure to protect against the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) to Minnesota deer.
CWD, a neurological disease in deer and other big game, has been growing in parts of Wisconsin but is not currently detected in Minnesota. The DNR this fall has been sampling deer harvested in southeastern Minnesota to test for the disease.
“It’s a new skill and an inconvenience for Minnesota hunters, but we truly appreciate the extra effort,” Murkowski said.
“These individual acts matter in protecting the health of the deer herd.”
To legally import deer killed outside Minnesota, hunters may only bring meat that is boned out; meat that is cut and wrapped, either commercially or privately; quarters or other portions with no part of the spinal column or head.
Hide and teeth are allowed, as are antlers or clean skull plates with antlers attached and all brain tissue removed.
The DNR recently made a video teaching hunters how to “cape out” any trophy buck that a hunter wants to bring home for mounting. Caping is required before the remains can be brought home.
Minnesota harvest climbs
With less than one week left to go in Minnesota’s main firearms deer season, Murkowski on Tuesday reported a 13 percent increase in the state’s harvest year over year. Counting all deer kills this year, the harvest stood at 144,726 whitetails as of Tuesday. This time last year, Minnesota’s deer kill stood at 128,300.
Of the total year-to-date harvest this year, 128,122 deer have been taken by firearms. That compares with 111,565 deer killed by firearms at this time last year. Bow hunting, muzzleloader season and other special deer hunts will carry on for the balance of the year.
The DNR projected a significant increase over last year’s take of 159,300. Population estimates for the herd were up heading into the 2016 season.
Murkowski said that while warm weather has inhibited movement of deer, the mild conditions have allowed hunters to stay out for longer periods.
“Folks are staying at it and getting out there and making the best of it,’’ Murkowski said.