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Archery deer hunters need to know CWD zone rules

This year's archery deer season, which opens Saturday, will have major changes for those hunting around Pine Island.

Last fall, an archer hunting near Pine Island shot a deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the first case found in the wild in Minnesota. The Department of Natural Resources did extensive testing and didn't find any more diseased animals. But it's going to continue looking to stop CWD before it gets a solid foothold.

To help continue culling the herd, the DNR has established a special CWD zone, zone 602, that is the same as the one where people could hunt last winter.

Rules for archery and firearms deer hunting will be significantly different this year in that CWD zone, said Don Nelson, area DNR wildlife supervisor:

• There is no limit, though hunters can take only one buck and have to use a regular license. But they can take an unlimited number of antlerless deer with disease management tags.

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• The antler-point restrictions that went into effect last year, requiring adult hunters to take bucks that have at least four legal points on at least one antler, are not in effect in the CWD zone.

• Hunters can cross tag bucks.

• Any deer killed in the CWD zone must be tested and can't be moved out of the zone until the test comes back negative. There will be four places where hunters can take their deer. Archers will need to leave the head there so it can be tested, but officials will be at the stations to take lymph node samples during the firearm season.

When they leave the head, it will be tested and results will be known in five to six days at the most. Because carcasses can't be taken out of the zone, hunters will have to make plans for some place to store them. If it's warm, the deer meat could spoil before results are known.

Erdman's County Market in Kasson will store carcasses for a small fee, or for free if the deer is processed there, he said.

The DNR is also working with taxidermists for figure out how hunters can submit deer for sampling and still maintain a good cape for any deer they want mounted, he said.

The four registration stations are Archery Headquarters in Rochester,  Greenway Co-op in Pine Island, Pellicci Ace Hardware in Zumbrota and Hardware Hank in Kasson.

A final CWD note: The DNR won't issue any road kill possession tags this year for people who hit deer with their vehicles. Normally, when a driver accidentally kills a deer, a local law enforcement officer can issue a roadkill permit so the person can salvage the meat.

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The change comes as another way to try to control possible spread of CWD outside the Pine Island area.

DU and veterans:Ducks Unlimited members attending tonight's fundraiser in southwest Rochester will have a chance to help disabled veterans. Among the night's raffles will be one in which all proceeds will benefit veterans.

DNR shooting team:For the ninth straight year, the DNR pistol team, which included Conservation Office Mitch Boyum of Rushford, has won the Basil Irwin Memorial Pistol Competition that was held Aug. 30 in Chatfield. The event pits teams against those from several other states and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

 

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