Boundaries for a special late-season deer hunt to help control chronic wasting disease in southeastern Minnesota’s Fillmore County have been expanded to include portions of three surrounding deer permit areas, the Department of Natural Resources said.
The expansion of boundaries for the nine-day hunt that lasts from Saturday, Jan. 6, to Sunday, Jan. 14, became necessary when CWD test results of harvested deer revealed two infected deer in Forestville State Park and a suspected infection north of the disease’s core area around Preston.
During the upcoming hunt, deer may be taken in an approximate 10-mile radius surrounding the new discoveries. That area includes all of deer permit area 603 as well as the portion of permit area 345 south of Interstate 90, the southern portion of permit area 347 and the northern portion of permit area 348. A map of the area and complete details are available on the DNR’s website at mndnr.gov/cwd.
“Hunters must plan ahead,” said Lou Cornicelli, the DNR’s wildlife research manager. “Private land makes up most of the area and hunters must have landowner permission. Public land in the area likely will be crowded. And hunting opportunities will be limited and available only by permit at Forestville State Park and Pin Oak Prairie Scientific and Natural Area.”
Within 24 hours of harvest, each deer must be taken to one of four stations where DNR staff will register the deer and collect lymph node tissue for CWD testing. All electronic registration will be turned off.
With the exception of fawns, deer cannot be moved from the hunt area without a test result that shows CWD was not detected. Prior to test results, hunters may properly quarter their deer and bone-out meat but the head, spinal column and all brain material must remain in the area until the animal’s test results show a not-detected status.
Designated dumpsters where hunters can dispose of carcasses and parts will be available in Preston and Forestville.
A refrigerated trailer will be available in Preston for temporary storage of the entire carcass if hunters choose to wait for the test result before processing their deer. After receiving a not-detected test result for the deer, the hunter can take the entire deer out of the area.
Since the mid-September start of the archery season 1,334 deer have been tested in permit area 603 and results have shown six confirmed and one suspect cases of CWD. Although the number of CWD-infected deer is down from the 11 positives found last season, three of the new positives were found outside the core area.
“We were glad to see the prevalence go down but we’re unsure if we have a disease expansion or if males recently moved into a new area,” Cornicelli said. “Test results of deer taken during this special hunt will help us determine what the new disease management zone boundary will look like in 2018.”
Complete information about CWD and DNR efforts to keep Minnesota deer healthy are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd.
Special hunt rules
Hunt dates are Jan. 6-14, 2018.
Hunt is open to residents and nonresidents.
There is no bag limit, the antler point restriction will be eliminated in this area and cross-tagging (party hunting) will be allowed.
Hunters can use any unfilled 2017 license or purchase disease management tags for $2.50. You do not need a deer hunting license to purchase disease management tags, which are valid for deer of either sex.
Legal firearms are shotguns, muzzleloader or crossbows using either a firearm or muzzleloader license. Archery equipment must be used if the person is hunting with an archery license. Centerfire rifles are not allowed.
All deer must be registered in person at one of the stations below. Registration stations will be staffed 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily during the season: Chatfield – Magnum Sports, 20 Main St. S; Preston – Preston Forestry office, 912 Houston St.; Forestville State Park; Rushford – Pam’s Corner Convenience, at the intersection of Minnesota highways 16 and 43.
Submission of a CWD sample is mandatory.
All deer will be tagged and tested by DNR staff. Fawns will be allowed to leave the zone.
Carcasses from adult deer must remain in the zone until a “not detected” test is reported. This test takes three to four business days so hunters should make the appropriate arrangements prior to killing a deer.
Test results can be checked on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck or by calling the DNR Information Center at 888-646-6367.
Hunting at Forestville, Pin Oak Prairie and Cherry Grove
Forestville State Park and Pin Oak Prairie SNA will both be open to limited deer hunting during the special hunt. To avoid overcrowding, permits for these areas will be issued on a first come, first served basis starting at noon on Monday, Dec. 18.
Forestville State Park will remain open to visitors during the special hunt.
Hunters must have a filled or unfilled 2017 firearm or muzzleloader license to obtain a permit.
There is no group application for these hunts. Permits can be obtained online or wherever DNR licenses are sold. There is no fee for these permits.
The same hunt rules as described for permit area 603 apply to these areas. Successful hunters can use any unfilled tag, or purchase disease management permits for $2.50.
Specific hunt numbers, dates and available permits are:
801: Forestville State Park, Jan. 6-9, 2018, 130 permits.
802: Forestville State Park, Jan. 10-14, 2018,130 permits.
803: Pin Oak Prairie SNA, Jan. 6-9, 2018, five permits.
804: Pin Oak Prairie SNA, Jan. 10- 14, 2018, five permits.
The Cherry Grove Blind Valley SNA, which adjoins the Cherry Grove Wildlife Management Area, also is open to deer hunting and no special permit is required.
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 www.cdc.gov for more information.