Wisconsin CWD case will affect deer hunters from Minnesota

  • Updated: September 12, 2012 - 8:00 PM

Minnesotans who shoot a deer in four northwestern counties face restrictions.

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Chronic wasting disease produces microscopic holes in the brains of whitetail deer, causing weight loss, tremors, strange behavior and, eventually, death. There is no cure for the disease, which is contagious among animals. It also affects moose and elk. There is no evidence it is transmissible to humans.

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The discovery last spring of a wild deer in northwestern Wisconsin with chronic wasting disease (CWD) will affect Minnesotans who hunt deer in that region this fall.

Minnesota hunters will be prohibited from bringing back whole, field-dressed deer from Barron, Burnett, Polk and Washburn counties in Wisconsin because it is a chronic wasting disease endemic area.

Instead, hunters in those areas may only return to Minnesota with cut and wrapped meat, quarters or other portions with no part of the spinal column or head attached. They also can return with antlers, hides, teeth, finished taxidermy mounts and antlers attached to skull caps that are cleaned of all brain tissue.

"The key is to stop CWD from coming into our state,'' said Rod Smith, Minnesota DNR assistant enforcement director. "That's why it's important.''

About 17,000 Minnesotans hunt deer in Wisconsin -- many in the northwestern part of the state. The 3 1/2-year-old infected whitetail was found just outside Shell Lake, about 60 miles east of Pine City, Minn.

Deer harvested in CWD endemic areas outside northwestern Wisconsin also are subject to the restrictions. Those Wisconsin counties are Adams, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Lafayette, Marquette, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Vernon, Walworth and Waukesha.

DOUG SMITH

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