Landowners in Crow Wing County are being allowed to hunt deer as part of the Minnesota DNR's drive to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.
Having previously been confined to three counties in southeast Minnesota, the DNR found the first deer infected with the fatal disease in Merrifield, north of Brainerd, on Jan. 23.
As such, the DNR has sent out shooting permits to landowners with 10 or more acres who are within two miles of where this deer was found.
The permits become effective this Saturday.
In December, the DNR allowed special public hunts to take place on certain parts of southeastern Minnesota as part of its CWD eradication efforts.
As part of the budget he announced last week, Gov. Tim Walz is proposing $4.6 million be used over the next two years to fight the disease, and $1.1 million annually thereafter.
This money, he says, would improve the DNR's surveillance capabilities and rapid response to disease detection.
The disease is fatal to whitetail and mule deer, as well as moose and elk and as of right now there is no cure or vaccine. The Duluth News Tribune reports that if it infects more than a third of the population in a given area, it could result in entire herds being wiped out.