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Minnesota News
Minnesota News

News Archive


 

No additional deer test positive for CWD in southeastern Minnesota

DNR asks deer hunters to use head boxes in Lanesboro, Preston, Chatfield, Harmony

No additional deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease from samples collected this fall in southeastern Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Nearly one-third of all deer harvested during southeastern Minnesota’s first firearms deer season and the first three days of the second season were tested for CWD. Only two of the 2,866 deer tested returned positive results. Both were harvested about 1 mile apart west of Lanesboro in deer permit area 348.

“This was an extensive surveillance effort,” said Dr. Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the DNR. “While we’re disappointed we found two positive deer, we remain optimistic the infection is localized and not widespread throughout the southeast.”

The DNR now is planning and implementing its CWD response plan, which will include a December public meeting announcing the response plan details and continued opportunities for hunters in permit areas 347 and 348 to have their harvested deer tested.

Hunters can get a simple form, complete it and place it – along with the head of a harvested deer – in boxes located at the:

  • Preston forestry office, 912 Houston St., Preston.
  • Lanesboro fisheries office, 23785 Grosbeak Road., Lanesboro.
  • Magnum Sports, 20 Main St. S., Chatfield.
  • Oak Meadow Meats, 50 9th St., Harmony.

Samples are submitted for testing weekly. Test results become available the following week. Hunters will only be notified if a deer tests positive for CWD.

Instructions on how to use the head boxes are at the boxes and available on the DNR’s CWD homepage at www.mndnr.gov/cwd.

“The DNR is in the process of developing more specific CWD management actions,” Cornicelli said. “We will engage and fully inform the affected communities – particularly landowners – as we develop and implement quick and aggressive response actions that can limit the spread of the disease.”

CWD is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. Prior to this discovery, the disease was only found in a single other wild deer harvested near Pine Island in 2010.

The DNR discovered the two infected deer during this fall’s enhanced CWD surveillance program, which was initiated because the region abuts Wisconsin and northeastern Iowa. Wisconsin has 43 counties affected by CWD and the disease has been detected in northeastern Iowa’s Allamakee County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Health Organization have found no scientific evidence that the disease presents a health risk to humans who come in contact with infected animals or eat infected meat. Still, the CDC advises against eating meat from animals known to have CWD. Hunters should take these recommended precautions when harvesting deer:

  • Do not shoot, handle or consume any animal that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick.
  • If you do shoot a deer that acts abnormally or appears emaciated, report your harvest to your area DNR office.
  • Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing deer.
  • Bone out the meat from the animal. Don’t saw through bone, and avoid cutting through the brain or spinal cord (backbone).
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed.
  • Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. Normal field dressing coupled with boning out a carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cutting away all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes.
  • If hunters have a deer or elk commercially processed, request that the animal is processed individually, without meat from other animals being added to meat from their animal.
CWD is transmitted primarily from animal-to-animal by infectious agents in feces, urine or saliva. The disease also can persist for a long time in the environment and may be contracted from contaminated soil. The movement of live animals is one of the greatest risk factors in spreading the disease to new areas.
 
For more information, including maps of CWD surveillance areas, common questions and answers and hunter information, visit the DNR’s CWD homepage at www.mndnr.gov/cwd.

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DNR selects members for statewide deer advisory committee

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has selected a 20-member advisory committee to provide the agency with feedback and advice on deer management as it develops a statewide deer plan.
“These committee members represent a broad range of interests,” said Adam Murkowski, DNR big game program leader. “We’ll use recommendations from the committee and broader public input as we set strategic direction and guiding principles for deer management.”
Over the next year, the Deer Management Plan Advisory Committee will review technical information and also public input that will be collected this winter through regional public meetings, online and through written comments. The committee will make recommendations to the DNR for the plan that will be in effect for 10 years.
“We value this open and public process to develop the plan,” Murkowski said. “Committee recommendations and input from the public will be vitally important.”
Committee members represent archery, firearm and muzzleloader hunters as well as nonhunters; landowners; farmers; livestock producers; land managers; wildlife photographers; local government officials; community activists; natural resource scientists; public health officials; and members and employees of hunting, conservation and agricultural organizations.
 
Thirteen seats are being filled by invited representatives of organizations.

  • 1854 Treaty Authority, Andy Edwards.
  • Bluffland Whitetails Association, Michael Sieve.
  • Minnesota Association of County Land Commissioners, Nathan Eide.
  • Minnesota Conservation Federation, Gary Botzek.
  • Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Craig Engwall and Denis Quarberg (two seats).
  • Minnesota Department of Health, Jenna Bjork.
  • Minnesota Farm Bureau, Kevin Paap.
  • Minnesota Farmers Union, Rod Sommerfield.
  • Minnesota Forest Resources Partnership, Dennis Thompson.
  • Quality Deer Management Association, Pat Morstad.
  • The Nature Conservancy, Meredith Cornett.
  • Women Hunting and Fishing in all Seasons, Diane Smith.

Additionally, seven “at-large” committee members were selected from an open call for applications this fall. More than 200 people applied to participate on the committee. Applicants were selected based on criteria including their knowledge of deer management, interests related to deer, familiarity with different areas of the state, and their interest and experience working collaboratively with a diverse group of individuals.

  • Ted Brenny, Mazeppa.
  • James Buchwitz, Strathcona.
  • Daniel Butler, Cohasset.
  • Kevin Goedtke, Fulda.
  • Yeng Moua, Brooklyn Park.
  • Bernard Overby, Kenyon.
  • Rebecca Strand, Shafer.

The plan is expected to be finished by the spring of 2018. More information about the planning process and the committee is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/deerplan.

The DNR strives to maintain a healthy wild deer population that offers recreational and economic opportunities, while addressing conflicts between deer, people and other natural resources. Habitat management, hunting, research and monitoring are several primary tools used to manage the Minnesota deer population. More information on deer management can be found at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

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