Minnesota deer kill fourth highest ever

Sales of licenses down 4.5 percent

DNR Reports

St. Paul Despite concern about chronic wasting disease,
Minnesota hunters recorded the fourth highest deer harvest on
record during the 2002 firearms deer hunting season.

A near-record year for deer hunters in northern regions offset
slow hunting in the south as Minnesota hunters harvested an
estimated 197,168 deer this year, up slightly from last year’s
total of 197,063.

Although concern over CWD prompted questions among hunters, the
number of licensed hunters fell by only 4.5 percent, according to
Tom Keefe, DNR licensing supervisor. However, sales of intensive
harvest and management licenses, which allow licensed hunters to
harvest additional deer, increased this year, he said.

The DNR increased the availability of antlerless deer permits by
a record 28 percent this season to help manage the state’s deer
population after a string of mild winters resulted in some of the
highest deer populations on record.

Much of this year’s harvest can be attributed to the additional
antlerless permits and licenses, said Lou Cornicelli, big game
seasons specialist for the DNR Division of Wildlife.

“For the third year in a row the northern forested region is
where the increased harvest occurred,” Cornicelli said. “The deer
harvest was down in southern Minnesota again this year.”

The harvest by region was:

Northwest region: 69,084, up about 3 percent

Northeast region: 54,846, up about 9 percent

Central region: 42,167, down about 5 percent

South region: 31,071, down about 10 percent

“In the southern part of the state, hunters reported a lot of
standing corn in the early season, which makes for excellent escape
cover for deer,” Cornicelli said. “It may be one of the factors
that decreased the deer harvest there.”

DNR officials estimate they collected about 4,500 samples for
CWD tests during the firearms deer season. The goal was to collect
between 5,000 and 6,000 samples at selected registration stations
across the state. The effort was as part of an ongoing surveillance
program to determine if CWD is present in the state’s wild deer
herd, according to Mike DonCarlos, research manager for the DNR
Wildlife Division.

This year’s firearms deer harvest total is exceeded only by
harvests in 1995, when 198,193 deer were taken, 1991 when 206,275
deer were taken and1992 when 229,236 deer, were taken during the
firearms season.

Minnesota’s archery deer season continues through Dec. 31. The
DNR will issue a final deer harvest report on its Web site at
www.dnr.state.mn.us later this winter.

No CWD in first group of hunter-killed whitetails

DNR Reports

St. Paul The Minnesota DNR announced last week that no positives
were found in the first group of chronic wasting disease test
results on hunter-harvested deer completed by the University of
Minnesota and the other accredited USDA veterinary services
laboratories.

The results come from tests run on 414 samples collected from
hunters at registration stations in selected permit areas as well
as tests run on 390 samples collected by veterinarians at the
request of hunters.

During the course of Minnesota’s firearms deer season, the DNR
along with volunteers and tribal staff, collected approximately
4,500 samples from hunters. In addition, veterinarians collected
528 at the request of hunters.

“We’re pleased that we haven’t found a positive yet,” said Mike
DonCarlos, research manager for the DNR Division of Wildlife. “But
we’ve only got about 10 percent of the results from our
hunter-harvest surveillance program back right now.”

Hunters who submitted samples to the DNR as well as those who
requested testing through veterinarians will be notified of their
individual results through the mail.

Samples that have been tested so far came from permit areas in
southern and central Minnesota as well as the Camp Ripley hunt.

The DNR expects tests to be completed on all 4,500 samples
collected by the DNR from hunters by the end of January. Tests
samples submitted through veterinarians may be completed sooner.
DNR staff at the Farmland Research Facility in Madelia have
cataloged and shipped about 3,000 of the collected samples to the
University of Minnesota. The remaining samples will be shipped in
the coming weeks.

Samples from the following permit areas were tested with no
positive results:

Permit area 341 (Wabasha, Goodhue counties): 42 samples tested,
(about 200 collected)

Permit area 342 (Wabasha, Olmsted counties): 46 samples tested,
(about 200 collected)

Permit area 345 (Winona County): 38 samples tested, (about 150
collected)

Permit area 346 (Wabasha, Houston counties): 51 samples tested,
(about 250 collected)

Permit area 417 (Stearns, Todd counties): 62 samples tested,
(about 300 collected)

Permit area 427 (McCleod, Sibley counties): 70 samples tested,
(about 150 collected)

Camp Ripley hunt: 106 samples (one sample was not useable).

Future results of CWD testing will be posted on the Chronic
Wasting Disease information page of the DNR Web site at
www.dnr.state.mn.us. The page will be updated weekly.

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