CWD surveillance, deer feeding ban continues in southeastern Minnesota

(Released September 9, 2013)

Mandatory testing for chronic wasting disease (CWD) and a related ban on deer feeding continues in southeastern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Sampling of deer harvested in permit area 602 will begin again when the archery deer season opens Saturday, Sept. 14. Hunters are required to register their deer in person and may not remove the carcass from the area until a negative test result is reported. Phone and Internet registration options are not allowed for deer harvested in this area.

The following registration stations will be open during archery season:

  • Neptune Bar and Grill, 468 Highway 60, Zumbro Falls.
  • Greenway Cooperative, Pine Island.
  • Archery Headquarters, 3440 Northern Valley Place, Rochester.
  • Gander Mountain, 3470 55th St. NW, Rochester.
  • Kasson Hardware Hank, 11 4th St. SE, Kasson.

Due to the low numbers of deer that are taken, DNR staff will not be staffing these stations during either the archery or muzzleloader seasons. Instead, hunters will be required to submit the head of adult deer for sampling. A box will be located at each site with specific instructions regarding how to submit the sample. Hunters are encouraged to plan ahead and have a place to store their deer until test results are available if they plan to transport it outside of the 602 area. Deer cannot be transported out of the area without a negative test result. 

Samples will be submitted every Monday and Thursday during the archery season and results will be reported back within three business days. Test results can be checked online.

Deer feeding prohibited
In addition to continued CWD surveillance, a deer feeding ban remains in place for Dodge, Goodhue, Olmsted and Wabasha counties.

“The prohibition on feeding has been in place to reduce artificial concentrations of deer,” said Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program supervisor. “Animals congregating around a food source, even a bird feeder if accessible, increase the odds of spreading an infectious disease like CWD.”

The current feeding ban, which includes attractants such as salt and mineral blocks, is effective through February 2014.  

DNR has been actively on the lookout for CWD since 2002, when the disease was first detected in captive animals. Surveillance efforts increased in southeastern Minnesota during fall 2009 after a captive elk farm near Pine Island was infected with CWD.

During fall 2010, a hunter-harvested deer was found positive for CWD, the first occurrence of CWD in wild deer in the state. As a result, a CWD surveillance zone (permit area 602) was created to help DNR manage the outbreak of the disease in wild deer.

Intensive surveillance efforts in 2011 and 2012 have failed to find any additional positive cases. The DNR CWD response plan requires 3 years of testing without a positive result before an area has its disease management status designation removed. If no positive results are found this year, the zone’s disease management status may change.  

Detailed information regarding CWD management, registration, sample submission and carcass requirements can be found on the DNR website. Hunters are encouraged to monitor this site as new information is added as it becomes available.