Here is another article on this from the Rochester Post Bulletin today:
Deer shot near Pine Island might have chronic wasting disease Posted: Jan 21, 2011, 9:34 am
[/align] Updated: Jan 21, 2011, 11:12 am
[/align] By John Weiss
The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
PINE ISLAND One of the Department of Natural Resources's biggest fears for the state deer may have come true chronic wasting disease.
A deer shot south of Pine Island last fall might have the disease.
If the disease is confirmed with more tests next week, it would be the first time it has been found in the state's wild deer herd.
CWD is an animal brain disease and is fatal to deer, elk and moose; it's never been shown to affect humans. It has been found in 13 other states, including Wisconsin, and two Canadian provinces.
The DNR has been taking tissue samples from deer that hunters allow to be checked for several years, especially around Pine Island. Four elk in the captive herd formerly at Elk Run near Pine Island tested positive for the disease in 2008; all elk there were shot.
Since 2002, more than 32,000 deer, elk and moose shot by hunters have been tested to find the disease early and try to head it off. The sample with possible CWD was one of 524 taken in the Pine Island area last fall.
The DNR has already started its CWD response plan and will take steps in the next few weeks to learn how prevalent the disease is and try to eliminate it.
"The good news is that we are well prepared for an attempt to control the disease and to possibly eliminate it, said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner.
In states where CWD has been established, nothing has stopped it. "The disease, if unmanaged, can spread and occur at high enough rates to impact long-term deer populations," the DNR said today.
The first step will be to do an aerial survey to see how many deer are in the Pine Island area, said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game coordinator who will lead the agencys CWD response team. Then landowners will be asked to help collect more tissue samples. There is very little public hunting land in the area.
Sample collection could come with a late winter deer hunt, shooting permits for landowners, or sharpshooters on land where owners have granted permission. This would help show where the disease may have spread. Special hunts would also reduce the deer herd to lessen the chances of the disease spreading.