Inside the CWD processing facility - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Katie Lange

Inside the CWD processing facility

Updated:

NEAR ORONOCO, Minn. (KTTC) -- We've heard a lot lately about the efforts to measure the extent of Chronic Wasting Disease in Southeast Minnesota. On Friday morning, we took a look inside the processing facility.

This is the third week the CWD Processing facility has been open. So far they've taken lymph nodes from more than 650 deer. Sitting and waiting for the big kill, it sounds like any hunter's dream, but a sharpshooter said this project is very different than simply hunting.

"A 3-way caliber rifle, some of the rifles are suppressed and what that does is reduces the noise of the rifle so we don't disturb the landowners we're working with or their neighbors," said John Hart, a USDA Sharpshooter.

Every evening at midnight and again at 8 a.m., sharpshooters bring in their kill. A team of 8 people perform what would appear to be a medical procedure, as they extract the deer's lymph nodes.

"They're put into a plastic bag, called a twirl pack, they're numbered and labeled for each individual animal," explained Dave Pauly with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The lymph nodes are then sent to the testing center and within three days the results are finalized.

Michele Carstensen, with the DNR, said they're also gathering extended research.

"We're looking at pregnancy rates and we're counting fetuses and looking at sex of fetus's to add that to our fetus data, we use that to help with our population model. We're also taking muscle sample and we're going to bank that for possible genetic studies in the future," said Carstensen.

The DNR said they're killing fawns to help reduce the number of deer per square mile. They hope to reach their sample limit of 900 deer by the end of March.

We asked the sharpshooters if we could see their firearms, but they declined. They are using guns with a night and day scope, as well as thermal imaging equipment.

Approximately 300 people are on a waiting list to receive venison meat. If you're interested there is still time to put your name on the list. Call the DNR office at (651) 296-6157.

 

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