43 deer killed so far for CWD testing
The fight against chronic wasting disease in southeastern Minnesota deer is off to a fast start.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources big-game coordinator Lou Cornicelli on Monday said more than 50 landowners have been issued permits to shoot deer within the CWD survey zone near Pine Island. Those landowners and their friends have already made a dent in the DNR's goal of shooting and testing 900 deer for the always-fatal brain disease.
"We're up to 32 or 35 deer as of this morning," Cornicelli said. "We're working overtime getting permits out there. I'm pretty happy. We're just getting this off the ground, but things are going pretty well."
Test results from these deer should be available later this week. Cornicelli said that thus far, the people doing the shooting have kept their deer, and meat from animals that tests negative won't go to waste.
The testing effort was prompted by the discovery of a wild deer that had CWD. It was killed by a bowhunter last fall, about three miles from the site of a former elk farm where four domestic elk tested positive for the disease.
Cornicelli said he's encouraged by the early returns, but there's a lot of work ahead. "Everybody wants to shoot deer right now, but shooting deer is a lot of work in the cold and snow," he said. It's still possible that sharpshooters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be needed.