deer and elk landing picture


In Minnesota, deer and elk (animals in the family cervidae) raised for any purpose are livestock and must be registered with the Board. Members of the cervidae family include: white-tailed deer, red deer, mule deer, fallow deer, sika deer, elk, moose, caribou, reindeer, and muntjacs.

Farmed cervidae producers are required to complete registration renewal forms on an annual basis. The forms are submitted to the Board with an accredited veterinarian’s signature, showing verification of the herd’s current inventory.

Inspection and Fees

An inspection of all registered farmed cervidae herds in Minnesota is performed by Board staff at least once per year. Producers pay an annual inspection fee of $10 per animal, up to a maximum of $100.

During the annual inspection, our staff will check all fences and enclosures, verify that each animal in the herd is officially identified and that all necessary registration paperwork is complete and current.

Fences and Identification

Perimeter fences and other enclosures that house farmed cervidae must be at least 96 inches in height and be maintained in a way that prevents farmed cervidae from escaping and wild deer from getting inside the enclosure.

Each animal must be identified with at least one official ear tag. Newborn animals have to be tagged by December 31st of the year in which they are born or before they move off of the premises, whichever occurs first. Producers that export farmed cervidae need to place a second form of identification in all animals that are in the herd.

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is caused by an abnormally shaped protein, called a prion that can damage brain and nerve tissue. The disease, which affects farmed and free-ranging cervidae, is most likely transmitted from one animal to another through shedding of abnormal prions in saliva, feces, urine, and other bodily fluids or tissues. CWD is a slow and progressive disease without any known treatment or vaccine.

CWD surveillance became mandatory in Minnesota in 2004. CWD infected deer or elk have been found in five Minnesota farmed cervidae herds since 2002.

As part of the effort to control the spread of CWD, Minnesota requires participation of all farmed cervidae herds in the CWD surveillance program. Participation involves the reporting of all deaths to the Board within 14 days. CWD samples must be collected from animals 12 months of age and older that die or are slaughtered. Samples and an official submission form must be sent to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab within 14 days for CWD testing.

Escapes and Intrusions

An owner of farmed deer or elk may not allow them to run at large. If an animal escapes, the owner must make all reasonable efforts to return or destroy it. If an animal remains out for longer than 24 hours, the Board and local DNR officials must be notified so that they can aid in the efforts of recovering the animal.

If wild cervidae get into a farmed cervidae enclosure, owners are responsible for ensuring the animal is destroyed and tested for CWD under Board supervision. Local DNR officials must be notified of the intrusion within 24 hours of destroying the animal.


Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that can affect many mammals, including members of the cervidae family. The disease is caused by Mycobacterium bovis. It can be transmitted between livestock, humans, and other animals. Respiratory secretions are the most common means of transmission.

Minnesota has a voluntary TB accreditation program for farmed cervidae herds. To be awarded TB accredited status, a herd needs to be found negative to two consecutive whole herd TB tests within nine to fifteen months of each other. Regular whole herd TB tests completed every 36 months are required to maintain accredited status.


Brucellosis (BR) is a contagious disease of ruminant animals that can also affect humans. It is caused by bacteria known as Brucella abortus. The disease is spread through direct contact with infected animals or with an environment that has been contaminated.

Minnesota has a voluntary BR certification program for farmed cervidae herds. Brucellosis certification status is awarded to herds that have been found negative to two consecutive whole herd BR tests within nine to fifteen months. Certified herds are required to complete whole herd tests every 36 months in order to maintain their certification.