A quick update as to where things currently stand with the Minnesota DNR’s Chronic Wasting Disease management efforts near Pine Island, Minnesota. In a nutshell, efforts are progressing nicely as the DNR is pleased with the on-going testing efforts.
Here are some tidbits I gleaned from today’s teleconference:
- The Minnesota DNR website has been updated including maps indicating where the samples have originated in the CWD surveillance area.
- Landowner shooting permits ended as of February 28th.
- In total, approximately 300 landowner shooting permits were distributed resulting in nearly 500 deer taken for sampling.
- Dr. Lou Cornicelli, CWD Response Team incident commander, has high praise for the landowners in this area. He states they did a fantastic job in helping with the testing effort. He goes on to say they have been very supportive and overall been just tremendous people to work with during this phase of the response just ending.
- Over the next two weekends the USDA sharpshooters will be working aggressively to complete the deer sampling effort.
- So far the sharpshooters have accounted for about 100 deer. They were trying to work properties adjacent to where landowner shooting was taking place, but the deer were too scattered to get desired results given their techniques.
- As of now about 645 deer have been taken in the testing effort (this includes yearlings which are tested but not included in the study numbers). Of that 645 deer, 427 deer fall within the surveillance group for the study (remember, 900 deer total are needed). That being said, this CWD management effort is about 1/2 way there in terms of the sample numbers needed.
- A total of 603 samples have been returned from the testing lab so far all showing negative (no disease present). The DNR feels they are getting good distribution throughout the surveillance range for these samples.
- The DNR also did an aerial survey on Monday and found the deer densities (distribution) are still where they expected them to be.
- The aerial survey also showed 100% compliance with the recreational deer feeding ban so no enforcement activities have been necessary.
- In terms of the available venison, so far the list has grown to over 300 people meaning nearly all of the harvested deer for sampling is eventually going into the food chain.
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