ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says a third infected deer has been discovered in the southeastern part of the state.
A hunter harvested the deer in mid-November. Two other deer with chronic wasting disease (CWD) were previously found about four miles west of Lanesboro and this third animal was killed about five miles north of that.
An area taxidermist provided a sample of the deer to the DNR for testing, which confirmed the presence of the disease.
Before these three cases in Fillmore County, the DNR says the only other wild deer found with CWD was near Pine Island in 2010.
A disease management zone has been declared in designated deer permit area 603 and a special hunt has been authorized. Because of the timing of the third CWD discovery, the disease management zone will not change prior to the special hunt. However, DNR officials say that the boundaries will be expanded about 5 miles north by the time the landowner shooting program begins.
“We strongly encourage landowners to participate in the special hunt that begins December 31,” said Dr. Lou Cornicelli, the DNR’s wildlife research manager. “When the landowner shooting program begins January 16, they’ll be allowed to take additional deer.”
Dr. Cornicelli says they believe the best way to solve the problem is through the cooperation of deer hunters and landowners. They hope to collect around 900 adult samples this winter.
“We can do that at a relatively low-cost and with pretty high-efficiency where when we get into sharp shooting, if we have to do that, that is very targeted, it if very effective but it’s also very expensive,” he adds.
Critics of the DNR’s response/management plan argue that population reduction has not been proven to successfully prevent the spread of CWD in other states.
“The folks that are really against what we’re trying to do are really few and far between,” Dr. Cornicelli says. “They tend to be very vocal, I get that, but they’re not the majority opinion that we’re hearing from the folks that are contacting us.”
He goes on to say that, “There’s far more interest in not having CWD on our landscape than there is in just letting it go and seeing what happens. To me, that’s not a very wise choice.”
The DNR has established a CWD hotline and they have been getting a lot of questions about the rules/regulations for the special hunt and landowner shooting permits, which are two separate efforts. For the details follow the link below:
This latest discovery also affects farmed deer and elk. “The Minnesota Board of Animal Health regulates farmed deer and elk in the state and has created a 10-mile disease control zone around this latest positive case,” said Dr. Paul Anderson of the Board of Animal Health. “There is one additional deer farm within the new zone and movement restrictions have been placed on the herd. These restrictions can be removed if double fencing is constructed on the farm.”