No positives were found in tests of 1,160 lymph node samples taken from wild deer harvested during the 2003 firearms season, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today.

Today’s results are the first from 10,000 samples that were taken from wild deer harvested by hunters. Samples were collected at 132 big game registration stations located in the northwest, northeast, southeast, east-central, and west-central portions of the state.

Samples tested were from deer harvested in permit areas 248, 411, 413, and 414. Results are posted at Additional permit areas will be posted online as they are completed. Lou Cornicelli, big game program coordinator said he was encouraged by the initial round of results and was hopeful the remaining samples would be negative as well.

The 2003 CWD effort involved more than 400 people from 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 (BWA), Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA), and other Universities and volunteers. The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Minnesota is conducting 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 being offered by Gander Mountain, MDHA, BWA, the Minnesota State Archery Association, and Austin-Halleck muzzleloaders. Cornicelli noted that the drawing will be conducted after all the samples have been entered into the database and proofed for accuracy. MDHA will ultimately conduct the drawing probably in early February.

So far, CWD in Minnesota has been found only in farmed elk. One elk tested positive for CWD after it died on an Aitkin County farm in August 2002. A second elk, which was part of a herd where the Aitkin elk originated, tested positive after it was quarantined and killed for testing on a Stearns County farm in January 2003.

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