Minnesota Deer Hunters Association passes resolutions to fight chronic wasting disease in the state

Category: News Release

 Mar 3rd, 2019 by Keith Worrall  288

Modified Mar 3rd, 2019 at 9:44 PM

Chronic wasting disease is front and center in the minds of deer hunters and conservation groups across the country, and that was apparent Saturday, Feb. 23, during the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association’s annual meeting in Grand Rapids, Minn.

MDHA members from across the state voted in favor of several legislative initiatives to help protect Minnesota’s wild deer herd from the brain disease that’s fatal to deer, elk and moose, said Craig Engwall, MDHA executive director.

Until recently, CWD in Minnesota wild deer had been limited to the southeast part of the state, where more than 40 deer now have tested positive for the disease. That all changed last month, when an adult doe found dead Jan. 23 near Merrifield, Minn., in Crow Wing County tested positive for the disease.

CWD previously had been found in captive deer in Crow Wing County within a half mile of the recent finding, but the adult doe was a first for wild deer in the area.

“I think Crow Wing was an absolute wakeup call for everybody because a lot of our membership hunts up north or lives up north, and having it be so far away from that southeast corner of the state really brings it home,” Engwall, of Dora Lake, Minn., said in a phone interview.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has proposed new funding of $4.57 million over the next two fiscal years and $1.1 million annually thereafter to combat chronic wasting disease, the DNR said. MDHA last weekend called on the governor and Legislature to agree to support and implement a number of key initiatives this year to fight CWD, including:

• Requiring double fencing on all captive cervid farms.

• Mandatory depopulation of all cervids on farms with a CWD-positive test.

• Moratorium on any new cervid farms and a voluntary buyout of existing cervid farms.

• Prohibition of interstate movement of both captive and wild cervids.

• Prohibition of interstate movement of any captive cervid byproducts including blood and semen.

• Elimination of antler point restrictions statewide.

• Dedication of an additional 50 cents of current deer license fees to wild deer health, bringing the total from each deer license to $1.

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