The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters in northwest Minnesota to submit all deer harvested this firearms season for voluntary sampling of chronic wasting disease.
The request came after the first suspected case of CWD in a wild deer along Minnesota’s border with North Dakota was found. A hunter had voluntarily collected the sample from a deer harvested southwest of Climax, Minn., and paid for a private CWD test. When preliminary results came back positive, the hunter contacted the DNR.
Confirmation of the initial result is expected this week.
“Thanks to this hunter’s early discovery, we have the chance to act quickly and be proactive,” says Seth Goreham, acting DNR wildlife research manager. “We’re asking hunters to submit samples so we can determine the extent of CWD in the area and take steps to help control the spread.”
Hunters who harvest deer in permit areas 261 and 262, which are between Moorhead on the south and Oslo on the north, are encouraged to leave samples at self-service stations in Neilsville and Climax. Once exact locations are established for these two stations, details and instructions will be available on the DNR website, alongside information about sampling stations in CWD surveillance, management and control zones.
No other cases of CWD have been reported in wild or captive deer in nearby areas, and no CWD sampling requirements were in place.
Testing is free for deer harvested in permit areas 261 and 262 as well as any other deer permit area designated a CWD surveillance, management or control zone. Hunters outside a CWD zone can collect lymph node samples and pay a small fee for a CWD test. Complete video instructions on how to properly collect a lymph node sample and laboratory information is available on the DNR website.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects cervids, including white-tailed deer. It is found globally and in about half of U.S. states. CWD remains relatively rare in Minnesota. It is a concern, as there is no known cure.
The DNR continues to monitor and take steps to curtail CWD. So far, 118 cases of CWD have been documented in Minnesota’s wild deer herd, most of them in the southeastern part of the state. The disease is also being managed near Bemidji, in the Brainerd Lakes area and in the south metropolitan area.
For more information, visit mndnr.gov/cwd.