DNR Responds to First CWD Case

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With the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a Minnesota captive elk herd, the DNR will begin more intensive scientific sampling to determine whether the disease exists in the state's wild deer herd. The discovery of CWD in a captive elk is the first time the disease has been detected in Minnesota, but according to the DNR's Wildlife Research Manager, Mike DonCarlos, "This still doesn't tell us whether Minnesota's deer herd has been infected. We will move to try to answer that question as quickly as possible."

The DNR will implement contingency plans that have been developed to respond the discovery of CWD in the state. Those plans call for culling deer in the immediate vicinity of the elk farm where the disease has been found. The goal is to determine whether any deer have contracted CWD and if so, how far it has spread. The results of the initial sampling will determine whether more sampling will need to be done. Additional locations may also need to be sampled if Board of Animal Health investigators trace CWD to other captive herds.

In the coming days, the DNR will be working with other state agencies, local jurisdictions and landowners to plan and implement the culling. The details of that operation will be announced once those arrangements are in place.

At this time, the DNR is not announcing any additional restrictions on deer hunters and the DNR?s plans to sample more than 5,000 deer around the state during the upcoming deer season will proceed.