A wild deer in Dakota County has been identified as positive for chronic wasting disease. Here’s what we know.
A resident near Farmington contacted DNR to report an adult male deer on their property that was displaying neurological symptoms such as being unafraid of humans, stumbling, swaying and moving with its head hanging low.
A DNR conservation officer dispatched the deer and it was tested for CWD as part of DNR’s risk-based surveillance program.
This is the first detection of the fatal neurological disease in a wild deer in this county and is nearly 100 miles from DNR’s primary CWD area near Preston, Minnesota.
Deer feeding bans
In the future, the DNR plans to prohibit recreational deer feeding, similarly to other areas of the state. For now, the DNR asks that residents voluntarily stop feeding deer.
- The DNR is currently developing plans to sample deer opportunistically until the fall hunting season.
- The DNR will work to identify a CWD management zone that will be at least 15 miles around the positive deer, in accordance to its CWD response plan.
- This fall, hunters can expect to see carcass movement restrictions and mandatory surveillance.
- People who are unfamiliar with deer management are encouraged to spend some time on the DNR's deer management page.
Questions and answers
- What is the DNR doing about this deer?
Affected parties have been notified and we have made changes to the 2020 deer season that will align with the CWD response plan.
- How did this deer get CWD?
At this point, we don’t know. The DNR will be examining risk factors as we conduct our investigation.
- What do you mean by opportunistic sampling?
The DNR samples deer that are exhibiting neurological symptoms. Those symptoms include loss of fear of humans, stumbling or incoordination, and excessive drooling. If you see a deer in the area that fits that description, please notify the DNR right away.
- What about deer-vehicle collisions?
The DNR is working on a plan to incorporate vehicle-killed deer into its surveillance program. As we only recently learned about this deer (March 11), we have not finalized our plans. We have to work with multiple road authorities, who are responsible for removing vehicle-killed deer. At this time, we ask that people refrain from calling the DNR about vehicle-killed deer, as we are not equipped to handle them and have agreements in place with county road authorities.
- I’ve seen a deer that doesn’t look right, what do I do?
Try to describe what the deer is doing. Is it limping? Could it possibly been hit by a car? If so, the DNR may not take any action. But if the deer shows loss of fear of humans, stumbling or incoordination, and excessive drooling, please notify the DNR right away by calling the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-MINNDNR (646-6367).
- I’m seeing deer that are really thin, is it sick?
Not necessarily. We are just coming out of winter and deer are generally thin because of their reduced nutritional status. Once we have spring green up and forage improves, they’ll put on weight.
- Is hair loss a CWD symptom?
No. Deer will soon shed their thick winter coat and grow a thinner summer coat. We’re about to enter that time of year, so hair loss or a mangy appearance is common. It’s normal.
The DNR will work closely with tribal communities and with cities, townships and counties to collaboratively manage this disease.
Find more information about chronic wasting disease.