The DNR wraps up CWD testing - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

The DNR wraps up CWD testing


Near Pine Island, Minn. (KTTC) -- Some residents will no longer hear guns firing late into the night. After nearly two months, the DNR's search for any additional evidence of Chronic Wasting Disease is wrapping up.

However, it wasn't without controversy from some area hunters. The latest debate has surrounded rumors that USDA sharpshooters killed two cows while shooting deer. Finally, those rumors can be put to rest. The DNR's Big Game Coordinator, Lou Cornicelli, said he received confirmation from the company that owns Elk Run, stating there were no cattle shot on or around their property.

After years of worrying that Chronic Wasting Disease would show up in Minnesota's wild deer, the DNR's worst fear came true, when 524 deer were tested and one came back positive, last fall. Since early February, Dave Pauly, with the Minnesota DNR, said USDA Sharpshooters and local landowners have killed a large sum of deer.

"As of this morning we have a total of 1,169 animals that have been collected to be sampled. Of those we have results back from 1,105 and all of those have tested negative for Chronic Wasting Disease," said Pauly.

While nearly 1,200 deer have been harvested in total, it's unlikely the DNR will reach its original goal of testing 900 deer this spring. Only 745 of the harvested deer were adults. Michelle Carstensen, with the DNR told us she was expecting to find more CWD cases.

"I think I was a little surprised that we didn't find additional, but thrilled. Now I think more of the concern is what's next, what's ahead for deer in this area," explained Carstensen.

The DNR will continue its CWD surveillance into the fall, using hunter-harvested deer samples.

None of the dead deer went to waste, people were able to put their names on a waiting list to receive meat. DNR officials told us the program is such a hit they still have 400 names remaining on the list.


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