Congrats on that nice buck! Now go bring it in to get tested for chronic wasting disease.
Minnesota's firearms deer season kicked off Saturday morning, and the Department of Natural Resources says deer numbers are up following three years of harvest regulations designed to rebuild the population.
Successful hunters in some areas will need to bring in their deer to be tested for chronic wasting disease on Saturday and Sunday.
According to the DNR, that's because some deer raised in captivity in Crow Wing and Meeker counties were found to have the disease. Since it's not known if wild deer have been infected, officials want to test the animals on the first two days of firearms deer season.
Testing also is mandatory in southeastern Minnesota, which the DNR says is the only location where chronic wasting disease is known to be found in wild deer.
I got a deer, so now what?
Well if you got your deer in one of these zones, you'll need to get it checked.
Just gut the animal as you normally would, register it, load it up (make sure the head is easily accessible), and bring your deer to one of those stations between 7:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. this weekend. Then a DNR staff will conduct a lymph node sample and test.
If you have a deer you'd like to mount, the DNR has a list of licensed taxidermists who can do the samples without ruining the cape.
Hunters not in a mandatory testing area can collect their own lymph node sample and submit it for testing to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Minnesota for $25.
There's a video showing how to collect a lymph node sample here.