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Chronic wasting disease possibly found in wild deer in southeast Minnesota

A wild deer shot Nov. 17 southeast Minnesota’s Houston County has been identified as presumptive positive for chronic wasting disease, the Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday, Dec. 5. Official confirmation will come later this week. The hunter has been notified, and the DNR is making arrangements to pick up the meat and carcass.

It is the first detection of the neurological disease in Houston County since testing began in 2002.

If confirmed positive, the DNR will offer landowner shooting permits in the area around where the deer was harvested and continue to collect samples as opportunities arise through deer-vehicle collisions or archery harvest. The DNR also will consider special hunts in January or February, depending on results from additional samples.

“While disappointing, this discovery is not unexpected given the proximity of this deer permit area to areas where CWD has been found,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the DNR. The buck was harvested 8.5 miles from a Winona County deer farm where a deer tested positive for CWD in 2017, about 9.5 miles from the Wisconsin border. CWD is established in wild deer in western Wisconsin and northern Iowa.

Eleven other deer were shot off of the same property, in deer permit area (DPA) 346, none of which tested positive for CWD.

“We’ll work closely with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health on our detections, so they can define their endemic areas,” Cornicelli said.

The Board of Animal Health regulates captive deer and elk in the state. The board creates endemic areas based on the location of wild detections of CWD. The purpose is to control and monitor farmed cervid herds in the area.

The DNR responds to and manages CWD in wild deer, part of a cooperative effort to detect and contain the disease.

Complete CWD test results from southeastern Minnesota are available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/cwdcheck. Any additional deer harvested during current and upcoming 2018 deer seasons in the disease management zone that test positive for CWD will be reported on this CWD results web page. The DNR will directly notify any hunter who harvests a deer that tests positive. Complete information for hunters about CWD for current and upcoming hunting seasons is online at mndnr.gov/cwd.

More background information about CWD in southeast Minnesota is available in a Nov. 30 news release at go.usa.gov/xPtVn.

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