DNR announces CWD response efforts in Crow Wing County

Limited landowner shooting permits offered; public meeting scheduled for March 4

Following the discovery of chronic wasting disease in a wild deer in Crow Wing County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering landowner shooting permits and will be working with willing landowners to allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to remove additional deer on their properties.

The DNR is targeting a localized area to remove infected deer. Landowner shooting permits have been mailed to landowners who have 10 or more acres and are located within 2 miles of where the CWD-positive deer was found. These permits go into effect on Saturday, March 2.

The DNR is also hosting a public meeting near Merrifield to provide additional details about its response efforts and answer questions.

The public meeting is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m., Monday, March 4, and will be held at the Woods Restaurant at 19624 County Road 3 north of Brainerd. DNR staff will go over the surveillance results and explain the immediate CWD response efforts planned through early spring.

Representatives from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, which regulates farmed deer and elk, will also present information at the meeting. The venue holds a maximum 300 people. The DNR will make the presentations available online for people who are unable to attend.

Discovery of CWD in Crow Wing County
The Crow Wing County CWD-positive deer, an adult female, was found in Merrifield, north of Brainerd, on Jan. 23. A conservation officer responded to a report of a dead deer less than a mile from a CWD-positive captive cervid facility. The DNR tests suspect deer when possible, especially in areas of high risk. On Feb. 14, test results confirmed the wild deer as positive for CWD.

The DNR began surveillance around the captive cervid facility starting in the 2017 hunting season. Over the last two years, the DNR has sampled more than 8,600 deer in this north-central surveillance zone, with no previous detections of CWD-positive deer.

“Because of support from hunters, we’ve tested a lot of deer in this area over the past two years with no positives identified,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “We’re hopeful that the disease is isolated in this immediate area and we’re responding quickly in an attempt to limit the spread and preserve the health of our wild deer population.”

CWD affects the cervid family, which includes deer, elk and moose. It is spread through direct contact with an infected deer’s saliva, urine, blood, feces, antler velvet or carcass. There is no vaccine or treatment for this disease. For more information on CWD, visit mndnr.gov/cwd.