DNR intensifies efforts to stop CWD spread - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Conte

DNR intensifies efforts to stop CWD spread

PINE ISLAND, Minn. (KTTC)-- DNR officials are intensifying their efforts to stop the spread of chronic wasting disease in Southeastern Minnesota by forbidding anyone in Dodge, Wabasha, Goodhue and Olmsted counties from feeding the animals.

On Monday night, close to 300 people packed the Pine Island cafeteria to discuss their concerns about the operation with the DNR.

"This could have a serious economic impact on our area, especially considering the number of people who come here just to hunt," said Rochester resident Mark Baum.

The DNR wants to test at least 900 deer in southeastern Minnesota as part of its effort to investigate the possible spread of the disease, after a wild deer shot near Pine Island tested positive last November.

CWD Response Team Incident Commander, Dr. Lou Cornicelli, says his department has received a tremendous response from landowners to get shooting permits, but they still don't know if any other deer are infected.

"We spread the feeding ban over a large area to be safe," Cornicelli told the crowd. "Those feeding areas are basically a place to get the disease," he added.

As of Monday night, more than 150 deer had been tested for CWD, most of them coming from within a 10 mile radius of where the infected deer was found.

Bill Hartmann with the Board of Animal Health told the crowd that officials are doing their best from keeping CWD from spreading, "We're being careful about the animals we let into Minnesota right now."

The DNR is asking anyone who has been given a special permit to kill deer to keep the animal on their property after it has been shot until testing has been completed, which usually takes about three days.

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