A video about how to get deer tested for chronic wasting disease is available on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website at mndnr.gov/cwd.
“Getting a deer tested for CWD only takes a few minutes and the video takes hunters through steps that make the process go smoothly, such as positioning their deer so the head is easily accessed in the vehicle,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager.
Testing will be required in portions of north-central, central and southeast Minnesota during the opening weekend of firearms deer season. “We want to thank hunters for cooperating during this sampling process,” Cornicelli said.
Precautionary testing from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, to Sunday, Nov. 5, will determine whether chronic wasting disease may have spread from captive deer to wild deer in central and north central Minnesota.
Central Minnesota deer permit areas with mandatory testing are 218, 219, 229, 277, 283 and 285.
North central Minnesota deer permit areas with mandatory testing are 155, 171, 172, 242, 246, 247, 248 and 249.
Testing in north central and central Minnesota became necessary after CWD was found in multiple captive deer on farms near Merrifield in Crow Wing County and Litchfield in Meeker County. Test results will determine whether CWD may have potentially been passed from these captive deer to wild deer.
Deer harvested in southeast Minnesota’s permit areas 343, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349 also are subject to mandatory testing on Nov. 4-5 because they are adjacent to permit area 603, the only area of Minnesota currently known to have CWD-infected wild deer.
All hunters in affected deer permit areas will be required to have their harvested deer tested Nov. 4-5. After field dressing their deer, hunters must take them to a sampling station. DNR staff will remove lymph nodes, which will be submitted for laboratory testing.
Hunters must register their deer by phone, internet or in person at any big game registration station. Harvest registration will not be available at CWD sampling stations.
For sampling to accurately detect whether CWD exists in wild deer, the DNR needs hunters’ help to collect 3,600 samples in the north central area, 1,800 in the central area and 1,800 in the southeast.
Proactive surveillance and precautionary testing for disease is a proven strategy that allows DNR to manage CWD by finding it early and reacting quickly and aggressively to control it. These actions, which were initiated in 2005 to successfully combat bovine tuberculosis in northwestern Minnesota deer and in 2011 to eliminate a CWD infection in wild deer near Pine Island, provide the best opportunity to eliminate disease spread.
Hunters not in a mandatory testing area can collect their own lymph node sample and submit it for testing to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Minnesota for a fee. A video showing how to collect a lymph node sample and a link to the lab’s website are at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck.
Complete information about mandatory CWD testing, sampling station locations and a related precautionary feeding ban, which includes salt and mineral licks in all areas and attractants such as estrus urine in southeastern Minnesota, are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd.