ST. PAUL – State Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, is calling for swift, cooperative action following Friday’s report that a deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease in Crow Wing County.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources DNR indicates this is the first time in Minnesota that CWD – a fatal neurological disease affecting numerous hoofed animals in North America – has been identified in a wild deer outside of southeastern part of the state.
“The recent discovery of a CWD positive wild deer in our area is disappointing to say the least,” Lueck said, “However, if we act quickly and forcefully, I believe we can eradicate the disease from this part of Minnesota. I am in full agreement with DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen’s comment that we need to respond quickly to eliminate this disease before it has any further opportunity to spread. That will take cooperation among private land owners, the general public and government officials. It is imperative that we designate a control area and gather a large number of additional samples as soon as possible, while at the same time significantly reduce the number of deer in the control area.
“I also support Governor Walz’s call for additional funding for CWD work. We must provide the DNR with the operational tools needed to nip this disease in the bud. It’s going to require an aggressive effort to rapidly harvest deer in the control area. We must bring U.S. Department of Agriculture/Wild Life Services animal control professionals to do this in a timely and efficient manner. We made that work when the DNR successfully eradicated bovine tuberculosis from the wild deer population in northwestern Minnesota several years ago.”
The Crow Wing County deer, an adult female, was found in Merrifield, north of Brainerd, on Jan. 23, by a conservation officer responding to a report of a deceased deer. The DNR tests suspect deer when possible, especially in areas of high risk. Test results confirmed the deer as positive for CWD on Feb. 14.
The DNR began surveillance around a CWD-positive captive cervid facility in Crow Wing County starting in the 2017 hunting season. Over the last two years, the DNR has sampled more than 8,600 deer in this north-central surveillance zone, with no previous detections of CWD-positive deer.