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Five cases of CWD confirmed in southeastern Minnesota

The Department of Natural Resources announced recently that five deer killed in southeastern Minnesota’s disease management zone 603 during the first firearms deer season were infected with chronic wasting disease.

Two deer that had tested presumptive positive during initial tests were found to be CWD-free after final testing. One of those deer was harvested in Forestville State Park. The other was harvested north of the park and east of Wykoff. Final results are still pending on two deer that initially tested positive for CWD.

Results of precautionary testing for CWD done in cooperation with hunters in the north central, central and portions of southeast Minnesota outside the disease management zone are updated on weekdays as they become available on the DNR’s website.

Deer permit area 218, which starts just south of Alexandria with a northern border of Villard and runs east toward Melrose, is one of the areas where hunters have helped the DNR test for the disease. As of Nov. 27, a total of 807 samples had been submitted of deer killed in area 218 with no suspected or confirmed cases of CWD being found.   

Testing continues on suspect deer and in 603

CWD testing is a two-step process. The initial tissue sample is analyzed to determine if the animal is presumptive positive. A final test is completed on all presumptive positive samples to confirm if the animal is infected with the disease.

Since the archery deer season began in mid-September, 1,028 samples had been collected in area 603. Hunters brought in 499 of those samples during the first firearms deer season, which began Nov. 4 and concluded Nov. 12.

“The DNR wants to thank hunters who submitted samples over opening weekend,” said Jim Leach, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director, in a news release issued on Nov. 15. “Compliance was very high, suggesting hunters view this as a very important issue.”

Mandatory testing of all adult deer harvested in area 603 continued throughout the 3B season that concluded on Nov. 26, as well during the remaining archery, muzzleloader and late seasons. Check stations are located in Preston and Chatfield.

Check the DNR’s website,, for specific information on check station locations, additional CWD information and DNR efforts to keep Minnesota deer healthy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, to date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, the CDC advises people not to eat meat from animals known to have CWD. Go to for more information.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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