MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Tests found no chronic wasting disease in more than 11,000 deer shot by hunters in north-central, central and southeastern Minnesota this fall, and officials say it gives them confidence that the fatal brain disease has not spread beyond a small pocket in the southeast corner of the state.
“This is good news for Minnesota,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the DNR said in a press release. “The results lend confidence that the disease is not spread across the landscape.”
The Department of Natural Resources ordered the precautionary testing in north-central and central Minnesota this fall after the disease was found in captive deer on farms in in Crow Wing and Meeker County.
The testing also found no spread of the disease beyond the state’s designated disease management zone near Preston in southeastern Minnesota, where CWD was already known to exist in wild deer. Tests from that zone found six confirmed and one suspected case, which is down from 11 last season.
In all the DNR says 7,813 deer were tested in the north-central area, 2,529 in the central area and 1,149 in the southeastern area outside deer permit area 603, the CWD management zone. Researchers still are submitting samples from cooperating taxidermists so final results will updated online at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck as they become available.
The DNR ordered precautionary testing in north-central and central Minnesota after CWD was found in multiple captive deer on farms near Merrifield in Crow Wing County and Litchfield in Meeker County. It also was conducted in the deer permit areas directly adjacent to southeast Minnesota’s deer permit area 603, the only place in Minnesota where CWD is known to exist in wild deer.
Complete information about CWD and DNR efforts to keep Minnesota deer healthy are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd.