Chronic Wasting Disease management efforts will continue in the Brainerd Lakes area for another three years, after the discovery of one CWD-positive animal in the area this year.
The Minnesota DNR said the single positive case (a 1.5-year-old male) came from among the 1,234 deer hunters harvested from deer permit area 604 this fall, an area from Brainerd north to Pine River, and eastward to Aitkin.
While this is only the second CWD-positive deer (of nearly 15,000) in the area since 2017, it's enough to continue the surveillance and management efforts — which were supposed to end after this year — through fall of 2024.
“Like us, area residents and hunters were optimistic that deer management could return to normal,” said Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program supervisor for the Minnesota DNR, in the announcement. “It’s unfortunate but this discovery resets the clock, and CWD management measures will remain in place through at least the fall of 2024.”
These management measures include CWD testing, harvest regulations, carcass movement restrictions, and a ban on both feeding and attractants. Carstensen called them "precautionary but necessary measures."
CWD was first discovered the state in a captive animal 19 years ago, with the number of cases slowly rising since then. While CWD cases remain relatively rare, wildlife officials are concerned about the spread of the disease, which has no known cure and can be fatal to deer, moose and elk.
The DNR has implemented a number of surveillance measures.
Most recently, the agency lifted its temporary ban on farmed deer movement within the state, which had been put in place after it was discovered a CWD-positive farm in Wisconsin shipped five deer to Minnesota.
On Monday, the DNR also revealed it is banning the use of feeding and attractants in more counties.
A CWD-infected deer near Climax means feeding and attractants will not longer be allowed in these additional counties: Clearwater, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk and Red Lake. That's in addition to the counties already on the list.
And a CWD-positive deer on a farm in Beltrami County resulted in the DNR adding these counties to the feeding ban list: Beltrami, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods and Roseau.
The additions go into effect Dec. 30. At that point, a total or 44 of Minnesota's 87 counties will be under a deer feeding ban. You can find the full list here.