For the second year running, the Minnesota DNR has announced two special hunts will be held to help limit the spread of chronic wasting disease in wild deer.
The hunts will be open to residents and nonresidents, and will happen on the weekends of Dec. 26-27 and Jan. 2-3.
The hunts will be held in the deer permit area 343, the entire southeast management zone (areas 643, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649, 655) and the south metro management zone (area 605).
All hunters – whether firearms hunters or archers – must submit the heads of any harvested deer to a self-service sampling station for testing. There will be alternatives made available for anyone who wishes to keep the antlers of the deer.
“Special hunts are an important tool in disease management, allowing us to focus on specific areas where disease has been detected and reduce deer densities in targeted areas,” said Barbara Keller, big game program leader at the DNR.
The special hunt areas were picked based upon the CWD detection rates from the fall hunting season, as well as previous hunting seasons in southeastern Minnesota, where the disease is much prevalent.
Reducing deer densities in known areas with CWD helps reduce its spread, while special hunts help remove CWD-positive animals.
You can find details about the special hunts here on the DNR website.
There remains in place mandatory carcass movement restrictions throughout the special hunt zones. Whole carcasses can't leave a management or control zone until it's found to not have CWD.
Hunters taking part must have a valid hunting license and an appropriate weapon, and will be able to buy an unlimited number of disease management permits.
They must also have permission to hunt on the land they're heading to, as most of the control areas are on private land.
CWD, which is fatal to deer, has been detected in 104 wild deer since it was first found in Minnesota in 2002. It has also been detected in a number of farmed deer.