An adult doe tested positive for the degenerative chronic wasting disease, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced last week. Joining a pair of does and three adult bucks, this marks the sixth case of the disease in the southeastern region of the state since November.
The most recent specimen was acquired through the region’s special 16-day season that ended on November 15th. Established to reduce the number of deer in a 371-square-mile disease management zone, the additional hunting season allowed officials to test 640 deer.
Five of the six infected deer were killed in roughly a 5-square-mile radius, leaving wildlife managers and officials curious as to how the disease ended up in the area and if any of the diseased deer were in fact related in any way.
“We will explore doing some genetic work on the six positives to see if the animals are in some way related,” DNR lead wildlife researcher Lou Cornicelli said, “We don’t know how the disease got here.”
With the goal of killing approximately 900 deer during the special hunt, the quota did fall short of expectations in January’s hunt. Given the fact that the data may prove to be insufficient to assessing disease prevalence probability, Cornicelli believes an intensified hunt, including the use of federal sharpshooters, may be required in the management area.
“The only chance you get to control this disease is on the front end,” he said.