Due to the regular amending of regulations in Minnesota, it is recommended that before hunting you check these CWD regulations, as well as those of any other states or provinces in which you will be hunting or traveling through while transporting cervid carcasses. The contact information for Minnesota can be seen below:
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Minnesota- University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
1333 Gortner Avenue St. Paul, MN 55108
612-625-8780 or 800-605-8787
Olmsted and Fillmore counties
DNR initiates disease response plan; offers hunters information on field dressing
Test results show two deer harvested by hunters in southeastern Minnesota were infected with Chronic Wasting Disease, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
One deer has been confirmed as CWD-positive. Confirmation of the second is expected later this week. The deer, both male, were killed near Lanesboro in Fillmore County during the first firearms deer season.
The two deer were harvested approximately 1 mile apart. These are the only deer to test positive from 2,493 samples collected Nov. 5-13. Results are still pending from 373 additional test samples collected during the opening three days of the second firearms season, Nov. 19-21.
CWD is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. While it is found in deer in states bordering southeastern Minnesota, it was only found in a single other wild deer in Minnesota in 2010.
The DNR discovered the disease when sampling hunter-killed deer this fall in southeastern Minnesota as part of its CWD surveillance program. Dr. Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager, said hunter and landowner cooperation on disease surveillance is the key to keeping the state’s deer herd healthy.
“We were proactively looking for the disease, a proven strategy that allows us to manage CWD by finding it early, reacting quickly and aggressively to control it and hopefully eliminating its spread,” he said.
It is unknown how the two CWD-positive deer, which were harvested 4 miles west of Lanesboro in deer permit area 348, contracted the disease, Cornicelli said.
“We want to thank hunters who have brought their deer to our check stations for sampling,” he said. “While finding CWD-positive deer is disappointing, we plan to work with hunters, landowners and other organizations to protect the state’s deer herd and provide hunters the opportunity to pass on their deer hunting traditions.”
These are the first wild deer found to have CWD since a deer harvested in fall 2010 near Pine Island tested positive. It was found during a successful disease control effort prompted by the detection in 2009 of CWD on a domestic elk farm. The DNR, landowners and hunters worked together to sample more than 4,000 deer in the Pine Island area from 2011 to 2013, and no additional infected deer were found.
The National 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.
With the muzzleloader deer season stretching into mid-December and archery season open through Saturday, Dec. 31, hunters should take these recommended precautions when harvesting deer:
The DNR already has begun implementing the state’s CWD response plan. Three additional CWD testing stations were opened in Fillmore County last weekend and electronic registration was turned off in two additional deer permit areas.
“We’ll wait until the late 3B firearms season concludes this weekend and analyze test results from all the samples we collect from hunters,” Cornicelli said. “That will provide a better indication of the potential prevalence and distribution of CWD so we can determine boundaries for a disease management zone and the actions we’ll take to manage the disease and limit its spread.”
The DNR began CWD testing in southeastern Minnesota again this fall in response to expanded CWD infections in Wisconsin, Illinois, and northeast Iowa, as well as new and growing infections in Arkansas and Missouri. The increasing prevalence and geographic spread of the disease also prompted an expanded carcass import restriction that does not allow whole carcasses of deer, elk, moose and caribou to be brought into Minnesota.
The discovery of CWD in wild deer reinforces the need for the vigilance that disease surveillance and carcass import restrictions provide. Although inconvenient, hunter cooperation with these measures help protect Minnesota’s deer herd.
“Working with landowners and hunters to better protect deer from disease is vital to Minnesota’s hunting tradition and economy and most important, the deer population in general,” Cornicelli said. “In states where CWD has become well-established in wild deer, efforts at elimination have been unsuccessful. Research has shown that if established, the disease will reduce deer populations in the long term. Nobody wants this to happen in Minnesota.”
Because much of southeastern Minnesota’s land is privately owned, the DNR will work with landowners when collecting additional samples to assess disease distribution and reduce the potential for CWD to spread. Sample collection could take the form of a late winter deer hunt, landowner shooting permits and sharpshooting in conjunction with cooperating landowners who provide permission.
“Those decisions will be made after surveillance is done this hunting season,” Cornicelli said.
The DNR has been on the lookout for CWD since 2002, when the disease first was detected at a domestic elk farm in central Minnesota. In recent years it has put additional focus on southeastern Minnesota; 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.
Since 2002, the DNR has tested approximately 50,000 deer, elk, and moose for CWD.
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, frequently asked questions, hunter information and venison processing, visit the DNR’s CWD homepage. Landowners, hunters and citizens can stay engaged and informed by visiting the CWD page and signing up to receive an email automatically when new information on CWD management becomes available.
No chronic wasting disease (CWD) was detected in hunter-harvested deer in southeastern Minnesota during the 2014 firearms season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The discovery of the disease in a wild deer earlier this year in Allamakee County, Iowa, triggered the Minnesota DNR’s surveillance effort. The Iowa county borders Houston County in southeastern Minnesota.
During the Minnesota firearms deer season, hunters voluntarily brought deer to be sampled for CWD at eight registration stations throughout deer permit areas 348 and 349. In total, the DNR sampled 411 deer within the two permit areas.
“We thank Minnesota’s deer hunters for their cooperation,” said Erik Hildebrand, wildlife health specialist. “By voluntarily allowing us to take samples from their deer, hunters are helping us keep our state’s deer herd healthy.”
This latest sampling effort suggests that CWD does not exist in Minnesota’s wild deer herd, or is at a level so low that it has not been detected during many years of surveillance.
The DNR does respond to reports of suspect deer across the state and tests them according to symptoms exhibited. Statewide, the DNR tests about 75 sick deer each year.
Detailed information on management, surveillance and a full version of the DNR’s response plan can be found online.
None of the more than 2,300 deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in three specific areas of Minnesota have tested positive for the disease.
Deer were tested in an area of southeastern Minnesota as part of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) ongoing CWD surveillance and disease management efforts in the Pine Island area. Deer also were tested as a precaution in east-central Minnesota because the disease was discovered in wild deer from nearby Wisconsin. Testing was done in the north metropolitan area because a captive European Red Deer herd in North Oaks tested positive for the disease.
Testing will continue in southeastern Minnesota and the north metropolitan area. Surveillance in deer permit areas 159, 183, 225 and St. Croix State Park will be discontinued.
“The results are encouraging in southeastern Minnesota,” said Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program director. “To date, the only CWD positive deer we’ve found is the one discovered from the 2010 hunting season that prompted our surveillance.”
In the southeast, 1,195 deer tested negative for the disease in the CWD management zone during 2012, marking the second consecutive year of no positives being detected. Deer tested were harvested during archery, firearm and muzzleloader seasons.
“Cooperation from hunters has been outstanding”, said Erik Hildebrand, DNR wildlife health specialist. “There is a lot of support for ensuring Minnesota has a healthy deer herd in the southeast.”
A helicopter survey conducted in early March within the CWD management zone indicated the objective of reducing deer population density in deer permit area 602 has been met. As a result, the area will be designated as intensive rather than unlimited for this fall’s hunt, allowing hunters to harvest up to five deer.
“A shift away from unlimited antlerless harvest to an intensive designation reflects recent survey results but continues our focus on managing densities while the area is still under CWD surveillance,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program coordinator.
In east-central Minnesota, 1,092 samples were collected during the opening weekend of the firearm deer season. In the north metro area, 180 deer that were killed by vehicles, removed through city deer reduction permits or harvested by archery hunters in the both Ramsey and Anoka counties were tested.
“The thousands of hunters who willingly donated a sample for the disease surveillance effort make these tests possible,” Carstensen said. “We appreciate hunter commitment to ensuring the health of Minnesota’s wild deer population and the help of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, both of which make DNR disease surveillance efforts much easier.”
Mandatory surveillance program leads to detection of the disease
St. Paul, Minn – The Minnesota Board of Animal Health today announced that a farmed red deer from a Ramsey County herd tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
The brain stem from a two-year-old female red deer was submitted for testing at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, where preliminary results were positive for CWD. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory today confirmed the positive test. The Board of Animal Health has placed the herd under quarantine and is working with the owners to determine the herd’s future.
The red deer died on the farm on May 10. The animal was tested for the disease as part of Minnesota’s mandatory CWD surveillance program, which has been in place since 2003. Farmed cervidae producers in Minnesota must CWD test all deer and elk over 16 months of age that die or are slaughtered.
This herd has been registered with the Board of Animal Health since 2000. “This herd is an example of farmers who take great care in the management of their animals,” said Dr. Paul Anderson, assistant director of the Board of Animal Health. “In their 12 years of herd registration with the Board, this producer has met all of the requirements.”
The Board of Animal Health is coordinating with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR is currently evaluating the situation and will likely test wild white-tailed deer in the area this fall.
CWD is a fatal brain and nervous system disease found in cervidae in certain parts of North America. The disease is caused by an abnormally shaped protein called a prion, which can damage brain and nerve tissue. Infected animals may show signs of the disease including progressive loss of body weight, behavioral changes, staggering, increased water consumption and drooling. In later stages of the disease, animals become emaciated (thus “wasting” disease).
According to state health officials and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans.
A white-tailed deer, recently discovered in southeastern Minnesota near Oronoco, exhibited some symptoms consistent with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) but was not infected with the disease.
“We appreciate the public awareness about the disease and its potential effects on the deer population,” said Lou Cornicelli, big game program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “We are relieved this animal did not have CWD.”
A landowner observed the adult male deer on his property walking in a tight circle for a long period of time. He reported the deer to the DNR, which euthanized the animal and took it to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for testing.
Deer showing signs of possibly having CWD always are tested when discovered, Cornicelli said. This is the first sick deer found and tested in the CWD zone – which stretches from Wanamingo, Zumbrota and Zumbro Falls southward to Kasson, Byron and Rochester – since sharpshooting ended last winter. None of the 1,181 deer tested in the area have tested positive for the disease.
The CWD zone was established earlier this year after an archery hunter harvested a CWD-positive deer in November 2010. Sampling was conducted last winter, and a deer feeding ban was enacted. Efforts to continue to monitor the area for additional cases of CWD and measures to help prevent its potential spread are in place for the fall hunting season.
“White-tailed deer contract a variety of diseases that express neurological symptoms,” Cornicelli said. “Further testing is ongoing to determine what affected this animal.”
Individuals should continue to notify DNR if they see a deer exhibiting CWD-like symptoms, which can include walking in circles, drooling, staggering, emaciation and a lack of fear toward humans.
More information about CWD, the DNR’s fall surveillance plans, and new regulations for the CWD zone in southeastern Minnesota are available online.