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Dnr Opening Special Deer Hunting Season To Combat Chronic Wasting Disease

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DNR opening special deer hunting season to combat chronic wasting disease

By: Tim Blotz

 

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The Minnesota DNR is opening a special deer hunting season in southeastern Minnesota in hopes of controlling chronic wasting disease. The disease showed up in some deer harvested outside of a special management zone this fall and now the DNR is asking hunters to help them contain the disease.

So far, the brain disease affecting white tail deer has been contained to a single small region near Prescott in southeastern Minnesota, but testing on harvested deer from this fall’s hunt shows two bucks outside of that zone also tested positive.

“Our concern is that we have a persistent infection of the disease around Preston,” said Lou Cornicelli, a DNR wildlife research manager. “But we are also seeing is that animals, particularly males, all males that are moving out from beyond that core and being picked up miles away.”

 

Bucks typically travel much farther than does. To reduce the number of bucks from spreading the disease and to cut the deer density, the DNR has set up two special weekend hunts on December 21 through the 23 and again the next weekend on December 28 to the 30.

The boundary for the hunting zone extends 10 miles beyond Preston, bordering I-90 to the north, Highway 63 to the west and Highway 43 to the east. The zone extends south to the Iowa border.

“If you’ve already taken a deer, it doesn’t matter,” said Cornicelli. “There’s no bag limit. There’s no, nothing special. You can go buy a $2.50 disease managementtag, it will be valid for either sex in that zone and you can use it for both of those hunts.”  

CWD is still fairly new in Minnesota deer. It was first discovered in three deer back in 2016, since then 28 have tested positive which means that the disease is probably here to stay.

“Our hope now is can we keep the infection contained and really put a dent in it over this winter,” said Cornicelli.

A good portion of land in this special hunting area is private. The DNR urges hunters to get permission before entering those properties.

Once a deer is harvested during the hunt, it must be tested for CWD at a DNR site within 24 hours.

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What an uphill battle.  Makes me almost glad I don’t hunt the SE anymore.  Not that CWD hasn’t shown up in Central MN either but there are too many positives showing up down there.  

 

I hope the private landowners get on board now.  Maybe in 5 years they could take a bow, and sigh of relief the problem didn’t get further out of hand.  The deer will come back.

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5 hours ago, Wanderer said:

What an uphill battle.  Makes me almost glad I don’t hunt the SE anymore.  Not that CWD hasn’t shown up in Central MN either but there are too many positives showing up down there.  

 

I hope the private landowners get on board now.  Maybe in 5 years they could take a bow, and sigh of relief the problem didn’t get further out of hand.  The deer will come back.

 

I'm not very optimistic about that. Maybe my opinion is skewed from what I've seen on social media - which granted always makes up a small portion of the overall hunting public - there are a lot of guys/groups convinced that the best thing to do about CWD is nothing; and that the DNR is either incompetent or has an agenda to basically destroy the deer herd in MN and CWD is the boogeyman to help them achieve their master plan.

 

 

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“While disappointing, this discovery is not unexpected given the proximity of this deer permit area to areas where CWD has been found,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the DNR. The buck was harvested 8.5 miles from a Winona County deer farm where a deer tested positive for CWD in 2017 and 9.5 miles from the Wisconsin border. CWD is established in wild deer in western Wisconsin and northern Iowa.

From a different article about finding a CWD deer in Houston County. Not sure of Iowa's and Wisconsin's efforts to get rid of CWD but if it's established there, keeping it out of Minnesota will be a difficult, if not impossible, task.  

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22 hours ago, Getanet said:

 

I'm not very optimistic about that. Maybe my opinion is skewed from what I've seen on social media - which granted always makes up a small portion of the overall hunting public - there are a lot of guys/groups convinced that the best thing to do about CWD is nothing; and that the DNR is either incompetent or has an agenda to basically destroy the deer herd in MN and CWD is the boogeyman to help them achieve their master plan.

 

 

 

Which is sad...  There is such a thing as too much of a good thing; even with deer.  And to risk the health of the statewide herd to avoid short term loss is short sighted in my opinion.

 

The DNR would be curtailing one of their very valuable revenue stream if they trashed the entire state’s herd to the point of discouraging participation.  It makes no sense for them to do that intentionally.

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So, the prions live in the soil indefinitely, right?  Is there a chance scavengers/birds carry it and [PoorWordUsage] it out and contaminate areas throughout their ranges?  What happens to all of the infected deer that have it that die naturally? Isn't the soil where they decompose now infected?  

 

So is there actually anything that can be done about CWD? Doesn't seem like what is currently happening is working. Seems like Wisco wiped their deer population down significantly in their hot zones and it didn't seem to help. 

 

To me, this is the same losing battle we are fighting against invasive species.  I don't think we can do much but live with it, adapt and hope for a cure or way to destroy it. 

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53 minutes ago, BRULEDRIFTER said:

So, the prions live in the soil indefinitely, right?  Is there a chance scavengers/birds carry it and [PoorWordUsage] it out and contaminate areas throughout their ranges?  What happens to all of the infected deer that have it that die naturally? Isn't the soil where they decompose now infected?  

 

So is there actually anything that can be done about CWD? Doesn't seem like what is currently happening is working. Seems like Wisco wiped their deer population down significantly in their hot zones and it didn't seem to help.  

 

To me, this is the same losing battle we are fighting against invasive species.  I don't think we can do much but live with it, adapt and hope for a cure or way to destroy it. 

 

If CWD was that easy to spread, wouldn't it pretty much cover the whole state, if not most of North America, by now? 

 

IMHO, the battle against invasive species has been lost due to a combination of ignorance, indifference or laziness by boat owners. Most of the spread could have been prevented, but that's a whole other ball of wax.

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34 minutes ago, Getanet said:

 

If CWD was that easy to spread, wouldn't it pretty much cover the whole state, if not most of North America, by now? 

 

IMHO, the battle against invasive species has been lost due to a combination of ignorance, indifference or laziness by boat owners. Most of the spread could have been prevented, but that's a whole other ball of wax.

 

I’ll admit I’m not schooled on the prions, but yeah, I have similar thoughts on the matter.

 

To spreading invasives: Another train that pretty much left the station, BUT blaming it ALL on boaters is off the mark IMO.  They get spread naturally as well.  You can’t deny it when you’re wading North Dakota potholes on the prairie and see the main vegetation is Eurasian Milfoil.

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As far as spreading invasives. I still say some day they will find that water fowl is bring it from lake to lake to ponds. Ducks, Geese, Swans, Cormorants, Loons,  Blue Herons, Seagulls, you name it all jumping from lake to lake everyday carrying water in their under feathers. I just can't see how that can't happen.  All summer I see large flocks of Cormorants flying from one lake to another.  Every drop of water falls off them before they get to the next lake. Hardly! 😕

Edited by leech~~

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1 hour ago, Getanet said:

 

If CWD was that easy to spread, wouldn't it pretty much cover the whole state, if not most of North America, by now? 

 

 

I don’t know how easily it spreads. Seems like it’s spreading pretty fast these days. 

 

I’m pretty undecided on my feelings towards CWD. I don’t know enough, but it sure seems like we’re not gaining ground by depopulating local deer herds.

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1 hour ago, BRULEDRIFTER said:

 

I don’t know how easily it spreads. Seems like it’s spreading pretty fast these days. 

 

I’m pretty undecided on my feelings towards CWD. I don’t know enough, but it sure seems like we’re not gaining ground by depopulating local deer herds.

 

Just by logic one would assume that increasing the deer density will increase the prion density and thus the amount of exposure and contraction. 

 

Even if you reduce the herd,you are still left with the higher saturation of prions. The question is, by reducing the herd are you able to stop the increasing density so that the exposure risk is stabilized. 

 

I feel they should get rid of the deer farms and get rid of the point restrictions. 

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The prions are believed to be "active" (they're not actually organisms so aren't alive) for around a decade.  It's far more likely to spread from bodily fluid contact than through the soil, but it is entirely possible to spread that way.  It's not like EHD which spreads rapidly and kills quickly.  CWD spreads slowly, takes YEARS to even notice symptoms, but will always kill the animal (or make it much easier for predators or other illnesses to take hold and kill it).  

 

As much as people seem to think they've depopulated the herd in 603, they haven't.  The population isn't as high as it was a decade ago, but it's still plenty high compared to much of the rest of the state.  It does seem like depopulating and keeping the herd low for a length of time is the best bet at containing the disease, but that takes a huge effort and the support of the landowners.  That's where the efforts of other states have always stalled, assuming they caught it as early as MN appears to have.  When Wisconsin caught it, it was already highly prevalent, and pretty much already too late.  The armchair scientists on social media don't help the situation at all.  As much as they want to say it's a disease that's been around forever, I really don't think that's the case.  It very likely started on a deer farm that was trying to grow bigger bucks by feeding them ground up bones, much the same way mad cow disease spread in Britain because farmers were feeding them protein supplements made from dead cows.

 

There's no proof eating an infected deer will transmit the disease to humans, but there's also no proof it won't.  It could very well become a human disease that takes decades to show up.  Or it could transfer to our food supply (cattle), through higher concentrations in the soil and ending up in the grass and hay that cattle eat.

 

I very rarely listen to podcasts, but Joe Rogan had an excellent episode a few months back that everyone should watch or listen to: https://youtu.be/E3s6p2UP57Q

 

 

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13 hours ago, BRULEDRIFTER said:

All of my questions in my previous post are all questions I ponder, they weren’t rhetorical.

 

I realize that. I highly doubt many people really know that much about CWD (I certainly don't) - but some have gotten very good at perfecting their arguments for or against doing anything to further prevent the spread.

 

It's also a bit eye opening to learn who is behind some of the social media groups. For example, the MN Deer Density Initiative, which originally started out with a fairly simple message that our deer herd was too low and hunters shouldn't shoot does, to in my opinion becoming more of a conspiracy theory group that thinks the DNR is out to destroy the herd (and lately seems to get its kicks from ridiculing anyone or any group that goes along with the DNRs plan). Brooks Johnson was one of the founders of MDDI, and it was interesting to me to recently learn that he is a deer farmer. Brooks is/was also very involved with the MN Bow Hunters Associations. So it gives you a different perspective when you read those two group's Facebook posts about CWD. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, mntatonka said:

 

I very rarely listen to podcasts, but Joe Rogan had an excellent episode a few months back that everyone should watch or listen to: https://youtu.be/E3s6p2UP57Q

 

I've listened to that podcast.  After I was done, I got all sorts of fired up and doom and gloom about CWD.  Then I started asking myself the same questions I posted above.  It is a serious issue, however, I don't think there is a way to stop it. 

 

I guess the only real way to get rid of it is to flat out exterminate every single cervid on the planet.  Once they are all gone, the prions will no longer be able to survive. Outside of that, we're stuck with it.  

Edited by BRULEDRIFTER

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2 hours ago, Getanet said:

 

I realize that. I highly doubt many people really know that much about CWD (I certainly don't) - but some have gotten very good at perfecting their arguments for or against doing anything to further prevent the spread.

 

It's also a bit eye opening to learn who is behind some of the social media groups. For example, the MN Deer Density Initiative, which originally started out with a fairly simple message that our deer herd was too low and hunters shouldn't shoot does, to in my opinion becoming more of a conspiracy theory group that thinks the DNR is out to destroy the herd (and lately seems to get its kicks from ridiculing anyone or any group that goes along with the DNRs plan). Brooks Johnson was one of the founders of MDDI, and it was interesting to me to recently learn that he is a deer farmer. Brooks is/was also very involved with the MN Bow Hunters Associations. So it gives you a different perspective when you read those two group's Facebook posts about CWD. 

 

 

I do my best to ignore fringe groups.  Or, at least, take what they say with a grain of salt.  Like everything, it seems the best solutions and answers generally are found somewhere in the middle. 

 

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4 hours ago, mntatonka said:

There's no proof eating an infected deer will transmit the disease to humans

 

I'm of the same opinion I am with worm filled fish... I am not starving, so why would I ever eat that?

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4 hours ago, mntatonka said:

I very rarely listen to podcasts, but Joe Rogan had an excellent episode a few months back that everyone should watch or listen to: https://youtu.be/E3s6p2UP57Q

 

 

 

Way off topic, but who would have guessed Joe Rogan is such a Renaissance Man? I still remember him from the News Radio sitcom, but I also just watched a few of his stand-up routines, and I know he's involved UFC.  I didn't know he did podcasts that covered such broad topics.

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On 12/6/2018 at 6:54 PM, BRULEDRIFTER said:

 

I don’t know how easily it spreads. Seems like it’s spreading pretty fast these days. 

 

I’m pretty undecided on my feelings towards CWD. I don’t know enough, but it sure seems like we’re not gaining ground by depopulating local deer herds.

Deer Farms.   Then, direct contact between animals.  Saliva exchange, French Kissing and sharing feed.  Not much evidence that I have seen of deer catching it because some other deer peed on the ground last week.  I would be interested in any information to the contrary if anyone has it.   

 

State needs to exercise eminent domain to enable them to radically reduce deer populations in the infected areas with or without the consent of private land owners.  

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, Getanet said:

 

Way off topic, but who would have guessed Joe Rogan is such a Renaissance Man? I still remember him from the News Radio sitcom, but I also just watched a few of his stand-up routines, and I know he's involved UFC.  I didn't know he did podcasts that covered such broad topics.

 

His Podcast is awesome! He’s not afraid to talk about anything and everything. He often dives too deep down some rabbit holes, but it’s usually always entertaining. 

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9 hours ago, delcecchi said:

Deer Farms.   Then, direct contact between animals.  Saliva exchange, French Kissing and sharing feed.  Not much evidence that I have seen of deer catching it because some other deer peed on the ground last week.  I would be interested in any information to the contrary if anyone has it.   

 

State needs to exercise eminent domain to enable them to radically reduce deer populations in the infected areas with or without the consent of private land owners.  

 

 

 

 

I get HOW it spreads, just unsure as to how fast it can be spread. 

 

Didn't Wisco basically allow unlimited harvest and extermination of deer in their hot zones years ago? How’d that work out for them? Still the hottest CWD state in the nation. Goes back to complete elimination of ALL deer is really the only way, otherwise, it’s a bandaid on a severed artery.

 

Agree about deer farms. Seems like they should be easy to manage and control to keep CWD out of, yet it seems to always be where it’s first discovered.

Edited by BRULEDRIFTER

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1 hour ago, BRULEDRIFTER said:

 

Didn't Wisco basically allow unlimited harvest and extermination of deer in their hot zones years ago? How’d that work out for them? Still the hottest CWD state in the nation. 

 

I don’t recall where I read it, but I do recall that WI didn’t get as aggressive as they could’ve/should’ve and now they’re so far behind it they’ll likely never catch up.

 

In my mind that’s a lesson that should be learned.

 

Deer are awesome.  I love seeing em and love hunting em.  I get wanting to have an awesome piece of ground in a premier deer hunting area to be a premier deer hunting property.  If I had a Million dollars type of thing.  But letting this stuff go without an effort to stop it has the potential to ruin it all in a decade or two.

 

Its easy for me to say shoot em up to subdue the spread cuz I’m not married to hunting one piece of land in one part of the state.  And not married to being strictly a deer hunter either; there are plenty of other opportunities for chasing game around here.  But I just can’t get behind the “It’s too late to even try anything” method of denial.  When it comes time for me to be worm food there might be such a drastic decline in the quality of our deer herd I won’t want to hunt.  Big deal, I’ll be done.  But my kids and grandkids may be left to just talking about the good ol days when you didn’t have to worry so much about getting some good, clean, healthy free range meat on the table.  Will it even be worth it to hunt?

 

My crystal ball really only works looking backward.

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3 hours ago, BRULEDRIFTER said:

 

I get HOW it spreads, just unsure as to how fast it can be spread. 

 

Didn't Wisco basically allow unlimited harvest and extermination of deer in their hot zones years ago? How’d that work out for them? Still the hottest CWD state in the nation. Goes back to complete elimination of ALL deer is really the only way, otherwise, it’s a bandaid on a severed artery.

 

Agree about deer farms. Seems like they should be easy to manage and control to keep CWD out of, yet it seems to always be where it’s first discovered.

As I recall, the area in Dane county (around Madison) was where the initial Scony outbreak was.   They had a lot of hunting leases and private landowners who had done a lot of stuff and perhaps even imported breeding stock and didn't want all their big bucks killed off to stop the disease.   

 

And as well,  the Wisconsin DNR hired that guy who supposedly was an expert who told them CWD was no big deal, it had always been around etc etc. 

I remember reading the studies and reports some years back around the time that CWD was found near Pine Island, imported by Elk Run.    I'm sure if anyone wanted to read them that they are still online.      

 

Here is an interesting article from 2015.   Discusses some of the history and Wisconsin DNR actions...

http://archive.jsonline.com/sports/outdoors/follow-illinois-not-wisconsin-to-slow-spreading-cwd-b99560237z1-322353591.html  

 

Also look up James Kroll, who for a time was the Wisconsin Deer Trustee...

 

From another article on the issue

Quote

Timothy Kurt did that research at the University of California, San Diego. Kurt looked at the role played by the 210 amino acids in the prion protein to figure out why CWD is transmitted to some species and not others. He found that when a species had a different amino acid in a key location, the diseased prion wouldn’t fit neatly into the healthy prion, like a zipper with teeth that don’t fit together. This, Kurt believes, is CWD’s species barrier. The amino acid sequence differed between humans and deer at a key location. A different study showed that a macaque’s amino acids matched the deer sequence in the same spot, but not the human one.

It’s evidence like this that prompts James Kroll, also known as “Dr. Deer” on the television show “North American Whitetail,” to dismiss concerns over chronic wasting disease as absurd. Kroll said he does not normally test deer where he hunts. “And why would I want to?” he asked. “I am not concerned about eating ‘infected deer!’” He adds that he’s proud of the special report his program did on chronic wasting disease, in which his colleague ate CWD-infected meat on camera.

Kroll has never studied CWD in the lab or in the field, but what he says counts more with hunters, especially in Wisconsin, and not only because he’s on TV. In 2011, he was selected as a deer trustee by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to straighten out the mess CWD had made of that state’s deer herd. Kroll believes that CWD is widespread, “has been out there for a long, long time,” and that what appears to be an uptick in cases of CWD are simply an artifact of looking for it. “If you test for it, you’ll find it,” he says.

This, of course, ignores the opinions of his colleagues who study CWD, and states like New Jersey, Oregon, Maine, and California, which have tested extensively for chronic wasting disease for years, and have never had a positive result. It also ignores the states, such as Illinois and New York, where CWD has only been found in a small area although deer throughout the state have been tested. And while Kroll argues that “CWD has been a great cash cow for a lot of states and scientists,” federal funding for CWD research and monitoring was actually cut back in 2012.

 

Edited by delcecchi

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5 hours ago, Wanderer said:

 

I don’t recall where I read it, but I do recall that WI didn’t get as aggressive as they could’ve/should’ve and now they’re so far behind it they’ll likely never catch up.

 

In my mind that’s a lesson that should be learned.

 

Deer are awesome.  I love seeing em and love hunting em.  I get wanting to have an awesome piece of ground in a premier deer hunting area to be a premier deer hunting property.  If I had a Million dollars type of thing.  But letting this stuff go without an effort to stop it has the potential to ruin it all in a decade or two.

 

Its easy for me to say shoot em up to subdue the spread cuz I’m not married to hunting one piece of land in one part of the state.  And not married to being strictly a deer hunter either; there are plenty of other opportunities for chasing game around here.  But I just can’t get behind the “It’s too late to even try anything” method of denial.  When it comes time for me to be worm food there might be such a drastic decline in the quality of our deer herd I won’t want to hunt.  Big deal, I’ll be done.  But my kids and grandkids may be left to just talking about the good ol days when you didn’t have to worry so much about getting some good, clean, healthy free range meat on the table.  Will it even be worth it to hunt?

 

My crystal ball really only works looking backward.

 

So how do we stop it, outside of complete annihialation of all deer?

 

I’m not in “denial”. I fully understand the implications from both sides. Either way, we’re screwed! Do nothing, potentially screwed, keep [email protected]$$in it, still screwed.

 

I felt that I heard a lot of grumbling from Sconnies back then saying the deer populations were devastated in the CWD zones?  

 

I hunt the northwoods, so at this point, it doesn’t affect me either. I just hate to see the endless slaughter of our few robust deer populations in this state for no positive results. 

 

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