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Home / Health / The state fight against CWD will involve two large stag hunts

The state fight against CWD will involve two large stag hunts



Minnesota is considering new extremes to stem a dreaded deer disease, including the ability to pay stag hunters and landowners money.

"Are there any incentives?" said Lou Cornicelli, Wildlife Research Manager for the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "It's definitely on the table."

Cornicelli released a reinforced plan on Tuesday to stem the spread of the chronic-eating disease (CWD) in southeastern Minnesota by stemming the local herd.

When the neurological disorder went crazy Cow diseases in cattle were detected in deer in 201

6, the DNR said the outbreak could be discontinued. Now the agency describes the outbreak as "persistent" and is working to establish the disease in new areas.

"It will not go away," said Cornicelli, "but we have a real chance to fight it back."

Two special hunts were announced for the end of this month, and the DNR said that federal snipers for the additional harvest should be set. The idea is to remove as many infected deer as possible from the landscape and weed out the flock to reduce the transmission of deer to stag disease.

DNR officials will detail the strategy and provide information on CWD at a public meeting (December 18) in Preston, the epicenter of the disease management zone. The special weekend chases on December 21st and 23rd and on December 28th and 30th are open to non-residents in Minnesota. Tags are sold for $ 2.50 each. The hunting limits will exceed the number of recent years to account for two cases of CWD outside the previous year's zone.

CWD testing of harvested deer is compulsory and hunters are not allowed to haul full carcasses from disease control. CWD is caused by misfolded proteins, called prions, found in the brains and spines of deer. The prions can also be spilled into saliva, feces, antlers, velvet, blood and urine.

The DNR conducted a poll this week among 5,000 southeastern Minnesota stag hunters.

The survey is conducted jointly with the University of Minnesota asking if hunters refuse or support the state's efforts against rejection. The survey also asks Jäger if financial incentives would encourage participation.

Michelle Carstensen, the director of the Wildlife Health Group of the DNR, said the agency had a hard time strengthening support for additional hunts last year. She said that less than 300 deer were caught in the special hunt of the past year, far less than wild biologists wanted.

Southeastern Minnesota is known for big money and some private landowners who have invested in the habitat for high-quality deer, oppose a widespread reduction of herd

Besides, according to Cornicelli, there is some apathy towards CWD partly because the disease is not very visible. Since 2016, 28 cases have been confirmed by tissue sampling and many of these deer seemed healthy at harvest.

He said the DNR is working with at least one prominent hunting group in southeastern Minnesota to obtain more "buy-in" for the herd's reduction.

Based on survey questions, the agency is also considering various incentives. The poll asks:

Should hunters be paid a premium for every CWD-infected deer they kill?

Should landowners be paid to allow hunting on their property?

Should participating landowners also receive an award for infected deer

Should a hunter be given a lifelong deer hunt for killing a CWD-positive stag.

Should there be a lottery for hunters who have harvested a deer?

Should the legislature grant tax breaks to landowners who allow public hunting?

Cornicelli said landowners were also being investigated about CWD and the ideas of the DNR to thwart them.

Marty Stubstad, owner of Archery Headquarters in Rochester and member of the board at Bluffland Whitetails, a hunting group Houston County says it will be difficult for the DNR to increase participation in additional hunts. However, the idea of ​​financial incentives displeases him.

"I see no reason to pay people for the hunt," he said.

State Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, D-Roseville, a lifelong stag hunter, said she is not sure that the DNR could create a premium on deer. However, she advocates the agency's aggressive attitude and wishes for stricter regulation of Minnesota's deer herds in captivity.

"We absolutely have to do something," she said.

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