Wild deer in Dakota County confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease

A wild deer in Dakota County was confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

The deer, an adult male, was reported by a local resident near Farmington as displaying neurological symptoms and was tested as part of the DNR’s risk-based disease surveillance program.

It is the first detection of the fatal neurological disease in a wild deer in this county, and this deer was found nearly 100 miles from the state’s primary CWD area near Preston, Minnesota.

“An informed citizen did the right thing by calling DNR, which allowed us to identify and remove this deer from the landscape,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “We’re hopeful the disease is not widespread in the area.”

In the short term, the DNR is developing plans to sample deer opportunistically until the fall hunting season. Cornicelli said deer hunting is the primary tool for managing this disease and the DNR will follow its CWD response plan to identify a CWD management zone that will be at least 15 miles around the positive deer.

Hunters can expect to see carcass movement restrictions and mandatory surveillance. People who are unfamiliar with how deer are managed in Minnesota can find deer-related information, including hunting, natural history of deer and the state’s deer management plan, on the DNR deer management webpage. The DNR will work closely with tribal communities and with cities, townships and counties to manage this disease collaboratively.

In addition, the DNR will prohibit recreational deer feeding. Until then, the DNR asks that residents voluntarily stop feeding deer.

The Board of Animal Health, which oversees farmed deer and elk in the state, is expanding its endemic area for CWD based on this new detection by the DNR. The Board establishes the endemic area boundary 15 miles around all confirmed cases of CWD in the wild.

Additional CWD information

CWD affects the cervid family, which includes deer, elk and moose. The disease is not known to affect human or pet health. It is spread through direct contact with an infected deer’s saliva, urine, blood, feces, antler velvet or carcass. There is no vaccine or treatment for this disease.

For more information on chronic wasting disease, including maps of CWD surveillance areas, frequently asked questions and hunter information, visit mndnr.gov/cwd.