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Details released for CWD special hunt in deer permit area 346

Hunters interested in another opportunity this winter to harvest deer can find details available online at mndnr.gov/cwd about a special hunt that takes place from Friday, Jan. 25, to Sunday, Jan. 27, and Friday, Feb. 1, to Sunday, Feb. 3, in deer permit area 346 in parts of Winona and Houston counties.

The hunt, prompted by the discovery of chronic wasting disease in a wild deer taken in northern Houston County, is open to both residents and nonresidents. Hunters must present all deer they harvest, including fawns, for CWD sampling at one of five DNR-staffed stations:

Houston: BP Gas Station, 801 Highway 16.
Rushford: Pam’s Corner Convenience, 107 Highway 16.
Witoka: Witoka Tavern, 27999 County Road 9.
Winona: Mills Fleet Farm, 920 E. Highway 61.
La Crescent: Pump 4 Less (Mannings) Gas Station, 301 Kistler Drive.

DNR officials will be available at the registration locations between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Fridays through Sundays and until noon on Mondays. All deer must be presented the same day of harvest or no later than 10 a.m. Monday morning.

Hunters can move carcasses out of the permit area once they have brought the deer to a station so that DNR staff can take a sample. Although there are no carcass restrictions, hunters are asked to either leave the carcass in a place where it can be recovered, or dispose of the remains in household trash.

“Part of our coordinated effort to reduce risk includes responsibly managing carcass disposal,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager.

Among other rules, centerfire rifles are not allowed and blaze orange is required.

A limited number of special permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 15, for Great River Bluffs State Park, which includes King’s and Queen’s Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area. There is no fee for these permits, and hunters can obtain the permits online or wherever hunting licenses are sold.

During the hunt, the DNR will close the state park except to permitted hunters during the designated special hunt times. Hunters must possess a hunting permit for the park, a disease management tag and a valid state park pass to hunt in Great River Bluffs State Park, and must comply with all other park regulations. It will be a regular firearms hunt inside park boundaries; no crossbows are allowed.

Private land makes up most of the area within the hunt area and hunters must have landowner permission to hunt that land. Public lands including the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge will be open during the regular season are open during the special hunts. Interactive maps providing details about public lands are available on the DNR’s website.

Additional details about the hunt, including hunt rules and considerations, station locations for CWD sampling, a map of the hunt area, and information about the DNR’s efforts to keep Minnesota wild deer healthy can be found on the DNR’s website at mndnr.gov/cwd.