Deer-feeding ban starts Monday to aid CWD battle
Beginning Monday, all deer feeding will be banned in Dodge, Goodhue, Olmsted and Wabasha counties to help slow or stop the spread of chronic wasting disease.
The ban will continue indefinitely, said David Pauly, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' CWD surveillance coordinator. A similar ban was placed in northwest Minnesota several years ago because of bovine tuberculosis, and it's still in place, he said.
CWD, which is fatal to deer, elk and moose, was found in a deer taken by an archer south of Pine Island last fall. It was the first wild deer found with the disease, although several elk in a captive herd about three miles from where the deer was shot were found to have the disease.
"The purpose of the ban is to reduce the potential for the disease to spread from deer-to-deer by reducing the number of deer concentration sites," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game coordinator and CWD incident commander. "The disease can spread from one deer to another following nose-to-nose contact, contact with saliva or other body fluids. By eliminating deer feeding sites, we are reducing the potential for the disease to spread."
The emergency rule makes it illegal to place or leave food outside that can attract wild deer. Those who feed birds or small mammals may continue as long as deer can't get at the food.
Pauly said the DNR knows where most of the feeding is taking place because it flew over the area and surveyed activity. Those who violate the rule could be reported by neighbors or the DNR might check. Those still feeding will get a warning at first. The ban includes feeding within cities, he said.
Food placed as a result of normal agricultural practices, such as hay or other feed for livestock, is generally exempted from this rule, but cattle operators are being asked to minimize contact between deer and cattle.