MINNEAPOLIS (Valley News Live) Hunters can participate in two special deer hunts to help limit the spread of chronic wasting disease in wild deer in southeastern Minnesota.
Residents and nonresidents can participate in the hunts from Friday, Dec. 21 to Sunday, Dec. 23 and Friday, Dec. 28 to Sunday, Dec. 30 in deer permit areas 603, 347 and 348, and portions of deer permit areas 343 and 345 that are south of Interstate 90.
The hunts are one step the DNR is taking to act quickly in an effort to contain CWD while it is relatively concentrated in a geographic area.
Reducing deer numbers in this area helps lower densities and remove CWD-positive animals.
Because the disease is spread through direct contact with an infected deer’s saliva, urine, blood, feces, antler velvet or carcass, reductions in deer numbers is part of a multi-pronged approach to limit disease spread.
CWD is an always-fatal neurological disease that affects the cervid family, which includes deer, elk and moose.
The DNR made the boundary for these special hunts larger than that of last year’s special hunt to account for the new CWD-positive deer found outside of the established disease management zone – known as permit area 603 in Fillmore County.
The DNR also considered information from the agency’s southeast deer movement study.
Hunters must plan ahead and should check the DNR’s website at mndnr.gov/cwd for complete details about the special hunts, hunt rules and considerations, station locations for registration and CWD sampling, carcass transport restrictions, a map of the hunt area, and information about the DNR’s efforts to keep Minnesota wild deer healthy.
Private land makes up most of the area within the hunt area and hunters must have landowner permission to hunt that land.
Public lands open during the regular season are open during the special hunts. Hunters can check the DNR’s Recreation Compass at mndnr.gov/maps/compass for more details about public lands.
Permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for each hunt for Forestville State Park and Pin Oak Prairie Scientific and Natural Area starting at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
There is no fee for these permits and they can be obtained online or wherever DNR licenses are sold. The Cherry Grove Blind Valley SNA, which adjoins the Cherry Grove Wildlife Management Area, will also be open to deer hunting; no special permit is required.