Hunters in a number of areas in southeastern Minnesota and around Brainerd and in Meeker County must have any deer they take sampled for chronic wasting disease during the firearms season which opens Saturday. Thirty-one sampling sites will be open (21 southeast, 6 north-central, 4 central). The D-N-R’s Michelle Carstensen says, “We expect to see a lot of hunters, have a lot of one-on-one conversations, talk about the disease, talk about carcass movement restrictions. We do have a number of taxidermists and meat processors that are part of the surveillance work.”
Chronic wasting is spread by deer-to-deer contact, and the D-N-R has increased bag limits in some areas to reduce population density… and implemented feeding bans in some locations to discourage deer from congregating. For more information, visit the D-N-R’s website.
Carstensen says the sampling sites will be staffed during the firearms season by about 300 agency employees, plus student hires. “It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort and we have different universities where we’ve contracted with student labor…. These students are coming out to work alongside D-N-R staff over the weekends,” she says.
Chronic wasting disease is always fatal to deer and there is no vaccine.