Chronic wasting disease "is gaining ground" | Local news

The first tests confirmed four more cases in this hunting season. And in the last days, two more deer were positive in a preliminary examination.

Hunters in southeastern Minnesota have killed half a dozen deer infected with chronic wasting disease this fall.

Until this hunting season, there were only 17 confirmed cases of CWD in the wild deer herds of Minnesota. They were concentrated within a five-mile radius between Preston and Lanesboro.

Michelle Carstensen directs CWD's management for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. She says that one of those animals was killed several miles outside the area of ​​known infection.

"We have strong evidence that this disease persists," he said. "And it seems we have some spread to the northwest, this disease is gaining ground."

The DNR established a CWD management area two years ago. Now, says Carstensen, it will have to be expanded.

"Our limits are going to change," he said. "We established that first zone based on the information we had."

And she said, more cases are likely. The deer hunting season closed on Sunday in much of the state, but hunters in southeastern Minnesota have until November 25.

Most cases of CWD are never good news, he said, but he has been able to extract the data from the tests to know how the disease is spread. All the infected deer were strong, mature, looking for companions.

The dollar that shot out of the management zone seemed to be traveling along the Root River.

She says, the CWD seems to be spreading along the river corridors, where deer can easily travel.

News from Minnesota public radio can be heard on KZSE 91.7 FM in the Rochester area or online at

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