Testing results for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) are now complete on nearly 10,000 lymph node samples taken from wild deer harvested during the 2003 deer season. No CWD was found, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today. “Minnesota has one of the more aggressive CWD sampling programs in the United States,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator. “It is encouraging that we have not yet found this disease in wild deer.” Cornicelli noted, however, that 45 percent of the state’s permit areas still have not been tested. The DNR intends to complete sampling in those areas during the 2004 deer season. In addition, the DNR is continuing the year-round effort to collect samples from “suspect” deer that are found sick or displaying symptoms consistent with CWD. CWD is a fatal disease that attacks the brain tissues in deer and elk causing lethargy, disorientation and emaciation. Since 2001, the DNR has tested nearly 15,000 wild deer for the disease. CWD was detected in two farmed elk in Aitkin and Stearns counties in 2002 and 2003, respectively. The 2003 CWD sampling effort involved more than 400 people from the DNR, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Minnesota Conservation Corps, Vermillion Community College, Fond du Lac and 1854 Authorities, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bluffland Whitetails Association, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, and other universities and volunteers. The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Minnesota conducted all the tests. Hunters who volunteered a sample this year received a DNR cooperator patch and were placed in a drawing to win one of several firearms and bows that were offered by Gander Mountain, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Bluffland Whitetails Association, the Minnesota State Archery Association, and Austin-Halleck muzzleloaders. The Deer Hunters Association has completed the drawing and the winners have been notified. “The DNR extends its appreciation to all of the organizations for their generous donations, the hunters for donating the samples, the other agencies who assisted, and the many volunteers who stepped up to help,” Cornicelli said. Testing results and information are online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/deer/cwd/testingresults.html

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