Minnesota is considering new extremes to limit a terrible heart disease, including the possibility of paying deer to hunters and…
Minnesota is considering new extremes to limit a terrible heart disease, including the possibility of paying deer to hunters and landowners.
“Will it come down to incentives?” said Lou Cornicelli, Wildlife Research Manager of the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “It’s definitely on the table.”
Cornicelli released Tuesday an intensified plan to contain the spread of chronic wasted disease (CWD) in southeast Minnesota by thinning the local crew.
When the neurological disease resembled mad cow disease in cattle was discovered in deer 201
6, the DNR considered that the outbreak could be shut down. Now, the agency describes the outbreak as “persistent” and works to stop the disease from establishing itself in new areas.
“It’s not possible,” said Cornicelli, “but we have a real opportunity to repel it.”
Two special hunters were announced later this month and the DNR said that federal screensavers will be employed to complement the extra harvest. The idea is to remove as many infected deer from the landscape as possible and toss the crew to reduce the transmission of the disease from deer to deer.
DNR officials will describe the strategy and provide information about the CWD at a public meeting on December 18 in Preston, the epicenter in the disease management zone. The special weekend celebrations on 21-23 December and 28-30 December will be open to non-residents in Minnesota, and the brands will be sold for $ 2.50 each. The limits of the hunt will exceed last year’s lines to account for two cases of CWD outside of last year’s zone.
CWD testing of harvested deer will be mandatory and hunters may not collect full carcasses from the disease management area. CWD is caused by malformed proteins called prions that exist in brain brains and spinal columns. Prions can also throw in saliva, stools, antlers velvet, blood and urine.
At the same time, the DNR launched a survey of 5,000 southeast Minnesota deer hunters.
The survey, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, asks whether hunters oppose or support state blowout efforts. The survey also asks the hunters whether economic incentives would increase participation.
Michelle Carstensen, DNR’s leader in animal health groups, said the agency fought last year to drum out major support for extra hunts. Fewer than 300 deer were taken in last year’s special hunters, far less than wild biologists wanted, she said.
Southeast Minnesota is known for big money and some private landowners who have invested in quality deer habitats oppose a substantial reduction in crew.
In addition, Cornicelli said that there is a certain amount of apathy about CWD, partly because the disease is not very visible. Since 2016, 28 cases have been confirmed by tissue sampling and many of the deer were healthy when harvested.
He said that the DNR works with at least one prominent hunting group in southeast Minnesota to get more “purchases” for crew reduction.
But on the basis of questionnaires, the agency also considers different enticements. The survey asks:
Will hunters pay a bounty for every CWD infected deer they die?
Should landowners pay to allow for their property?
Will landowners also receive a sum of infected deer taken on their land?
Should a hunter have a lifetime hunt hunting license to kill a CWD-positive deer.
Should there be a lottery drawing for hunters who harvest a deer?
Should the legislature’s pricing tax break against landowners that allow public hunting?
Cornicelli said that landowners will also be investigated about CWD and DNR’s ideas to weaken it.
Marty Stubstad, owner of the arc school headquarters in Rochester and a board member of Bluffland Whitetails, a hunting group in Houston County, said that increasing participation in extra hunts will be difficult for DNR. But he does not dislike the idea of financial incentives.
“I see no reason to pay people to chase,” he said.
State Secretary Jamie Becker-Finn, D-Roseville, a lifelong deer hunter, said she is unsure that the DNR could create a bounty on deer.
“We must absolutely do something,” she said.