Feeding Ban In Place With More Chronic Wasting Disease Cases
Two deer suspected of being infected with chronic wasting disease have been discovered in Minnesota. According to a DNR press release, the two adult female deer were killed near Preston within a mile of the first two confirmed positive cases. A five-county deer feeding ban will be in place for an unspecified amount of time.
The DNR received preliminary results of the positive tests on Friday, which will be confirmed later this week. Due to the additional cases, the DNR is considering removing more deer to asses the disease’s prevalence. A higher surveillance goal also results in more potentially infected deer being removed from the population, which helps to reduce CWD’s spread.
“We won’t make any final decisions until after Jan. 15 when the special hunt concludes,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager, in a statement. “But with the discovery of an infected deer 5 miles north of Preston and these two new presumptive positive deer, it’s prudent that we increase our original surveillance goal of sampling 900 adult deer.”
The DNR has been taking additional measures to ensure the disease doesn’t spread. About 115 special deer shooting permits were issued to area landowners that will become effective Monday, January 16. An aerial survey was conducted to determine deer population and density.
“Our best chance at containing the spread of CWD and hopefully eliminating the disease is to take quick and aggressive action,” said Cornicelli in a statement. “Asking landowners and hunters to reduce the deer population helps minimize the spread of disease. Fewer deer means less deer-to-deer contact occurs, lowering the risk of sick deer transmitting CWD to healthy deer.”
A ban prohibiting the feeding of wild deer in a larger area that includes all of Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted and Winona counties is in effect as part of the DNR’s comprehensive long-term disease management strategy.
The deer feeding ban makes it illegal to place or have food capable of attracting wild deer. This includes salt/mineral blocks and deer attractants. People who feed birds or small mammals must do so in a manner that precludes access to deer or place the food at least 6 feet above ground level.
If the new cases are confirmed positive, the total number of CWD-positive deer would be five for the year. The only other wild deer with the disease found in Minnesota was harvested near Pine Island in 2010.
CWD is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health.