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DNR expands mandatory CWD testing for deer hunters, sets open houses to explain changes

Updated: August 20, 2019 07:28 PM

Changes are coming for deer hunters in certain parts of Minnesota this fall. It all has to do with controlling the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

The DNR told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it is working to communicate better and be more transparent about its CWD response plan to make sure wild deer in Minnesota are disease free. 

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For the 2019 deer season, mandatory CWD testing is expanded in a new hunting zone in Central Minnesota around a deer farm where deer tested positive for CWD.

Testing is also expanded in southeastern Minnesota where they've been finding CWD in wild deer for years. This year the zone is all the way down to the Iowa border.

Bob Fashingbauer, the area wildlife manager for the Vermillion River Complex in Dakota County, said CWD really hasn't impacted hunter numbers in that part of the state.

DNR releases 2019 deer hunting regulations

"Most of the people down there are continuing to hunt; especially if they're getting the free sampling done," said Fashingbauer. "If they get a negative result they know they're good to go. And in the very rare occasion you have a positive one, they have the choice to eat that meat or not. But typically they're choosing not to."

Deer hunting is a tradition in Minnesota and the DNR doesn't want people to stop buying licenses. But many hunters wonder if anything can be done to stop CWD.

"You know, that's the million dollar question," said Fashingbauer. "It's on the landscape and we're doing our best to reduce it and to keep it from spreading. I think it would be a fallacy to say we're ever going to eliminate it all together."

The DNR is hosting informal deer open houses all over the state to talk about hunting regulations, CWD testing and deer population numbers.

If you can't make a meeting, contact your local wildlife manager to have your questions answered. 

You can find out the hunting regulations in your area by looking at the deer permit area map.

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Kevin Doran

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