Minnesota DNR Weekly CWD Testing Briefing (2/17/11)

Just quickly, here are some tidbits of information as gleaned from the Minnesota DNR’s weekly teleconference on their Chronic Wasting Disease testing effort near Pine Island, Minnesota:

  • First off, these weekly briefings might be put on hold for future weeks until either a significant discovery occurs or until greater numbers of tested animals have been completed.
  • On Monday night there was a public information meeting in Pine Island (MN) where over 350 concerned citizens turned out to show their interest in this subject.   The meeting was very civil, polite and most would agree it was constructive.
  • In general, the Minnesota DNR is finding great cooperation from both the general public and landowners on this effort now three weeks into it.   Dr. Lou Cornicelli states he could not be more pleased with how everything is working out so far.
  • At this point 300 shooting permits have been issued to cooperating landowners.   On average about 25 more permits are being issued daily.
  • As of 9:00am this morning there was a total of 260 deer that have been killed for testing.   Of this, only 180 deer are considered adults.   Note: Only adult deer are being counted toward the 900 deer that are needed for the completion of this CWD survey.
  • However, ALL DEER are being tested as part of the effort.
  • So far, there have been 240 test results returned with NO POSITIVES for CWD.
  • It should be noted that deer less than 12 months old generally do not test positive for CWD…that’s why testing adults is more important.
  • Due to the warmer weather as of late, the DNR has been forced to go out and get a bigger cooler facility (available tomorrow) so they can handle all the carcasses while the testing samples are out.
  • A list of about 200 people from the general public has put in a request for deer meat.   Bottom line is most of the deer taken in this surveillance effort will be consumed once they have been tested safe.
  • The MN DNR signed a contract late last week with the USDA Wildlife Service team (sharpshooters) who have used this week to establish landowner contact and formulate their culling plans.
  • It was pointed out that the sharpshooters are able to kill the deer over bait because ALL deer that come to the bait are subsequently killed for testing.
  • The sharpshooters will likely begin their efforts early next week.   They expect this involves about 8 to 10 shooters who generally work alone or in teams of two.
  • The DNR felt it necessary to supplement the efforts of the landowners with the federal sharpshooters in order to get the necessary testing samples taken prior to spring.
  • A deer feeding ban went into effect in four counties as of Monday.   During the aerial fly-overs the DNR was able to identify 39 recreational bait sites where people were feeding deer.   As of today, 25 of those people have been contacted or attended the public meeting on Monday night.   So far everyone has suspended those feeding efforts as requested.   The remaining 14 sites will be contacted today or tomorrow.   Generally there’s been good cooperation all around.
  • Oxbow park has a deer population of about 100 animals and the sharpshooters will likely be working at this location.
  • It was asked if the recent warm weather has created any concerns for the DNR.   At this point it has only created meat storage issues.   However, if the warm weather continues and more of the snow pack disappears rapidly…this could become a bigger issue.   Here in Minnesota after March 1st all bets are usually off with counting on snow to linger for any big duration of time.

For additional information on Minnesota’s ongoing CWD effort please click HERE.

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