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Minnesota sets new rules on imported game

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A Minnesota law which took effect Aug. 1 imposes new restrictions on hunters bringing deer and moose carcasses into that state.

The law bans the importation of whole cervid (i.e., deer, moose, elk, and caribou) carcasses from all adjacent states, as well as Ontario, in an attempt to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease—a degenerative disorder similar to mad cow—to indigenous animals.

As such, hunters now must make arrangements with local outfitters to have the carcasses butchered, wrapped, and clearly identified before taking them back across the border.

Previously, whole carcasses were permitted.

As part of this new regulation, hunters only may bring game into Minnesota from Northern Ontario via International Falls and Pigeon River (south of Thunder Bay), where it will be cleared by a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector.

It will not be possible to enter Minnesota with game at Baudette/Rainy River.

Hunters wishing to cross at International Falls are urged to contact the port of entry there (1-218-285-6101) prior to bringing back their animals.

Permit applications also can be made at the U.S.D.A.’s Web site.

Coming as it does on the heels of the mad cow issue, the new regulation could be interpreted as yet another obstacle to Americans hunting in Ontario.

But according to Linda Wall, with the local Ministry of Natural Resources office, it should not prove to be more than a minor inconvenience since many hunters choose to have their game butchered here before taking it home anyway.

“There used to be two options,” said Wall. “Formerly, hunters could place a tag on the carcass and take it home that way or have it butchered and labelled here.

“Now they all have to have it done here.”

Wall stressed hunters need not be concerned about being charged by the MNR here—because the animal has been rendered impossible to positively identify—as long as all the appropriate paperwork is in order.

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