LA CRESCENT, Minn. (WXOW) — Hunters planning to bag a deer in southeast Minnesota will have to review new rules and changes before opening day on Saturday.
A Southeast CWD Management Zone and two Southeast CWD Control Zones have been established to help manage and curb chronic wasting disease in the deer population. A “not detected” test result must be confirmed for a carcass to leave these zones.
“It is mandatory testing in the management zone, and then, it’s mandatory testing the opening season of A and B gun season in the control zone,” said Jaime Edwards, manager of the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area.
Sampling stations have been set up within the zones for hunters to take their harvest. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is hoping to have 20 ready to go by Saturday. Some landfill sites were unwilling to take the carcasses after their disposal contract with a state business ended. Hunters should still register their deer first before bringing it to the sampling station.
Also, new this year, there is a deer feeding ban and deer attractant ban for area counties in Southeast Minnesota. The purpose is to keep the deer spread out, so they don’t transfer the disease from one to another.
According to Edwards, the best way to combat CWD is a healthy hunt.
“That is why we have unlimited tags available for the management zone, and we’re encouraging people to take deer even if they don’t want a second or third deer,” said Edwards. “They can donate those deer, but we’re trying to get as many deer as possible.”
Avid hunters are already excited to hit the woods despite some of the changes. At Heth Hardware in La Crescent, Colton John Boettcher stocks shelves with orange face masks. Boettcher has been hunting for eleven years, and this year is no different.
“Everyone in my family hunts. My grandpa got me started as well as my dad, and it just sticks,” said Boettcher. “Just wake up early and sit in the woods.”
Boettcher has already gone hunting this year and has had to deal with the new process.
“It’s just a drop-off spot,” said Boettcher. “You just write down your township range, and you get a tag, and you can track it online.”
Sampling stations will help give wildlife management important information, so they can continue studying CWD and keep fighting to eliminate it.
To learn more about the changes, a view of maps and new rules, visit the Minnesota DNR website www.mndnr.gov/cwd