The first ripple effect in terms of the DNR’s response to a CWD-confirmed whitetail doe from a two-deer cervid farm in Douglas County this past December was felt on Monday when Douglas County was added to the list of counties in the state that have a ban on feeding deer.

In an attempt to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, the DNR announced in a release that it was expanding deer feeding bans in central Minnesota starting on Feb. 24 due to additional discoveries of CWD in captive deer in late 2019. New counties included in the deer feeding ban are: Carlton, Chisago, Douglas, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine and Pope. The deer feeding ban will remain in Stearns County due to the proximity to Douglas County.

Starting July 1, the DNR will remove the feeding ban from Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Renville and Wright counties, as CWD was not detected in any wild deer in the third-consecutive year of wild deer disease testing in central Minnesota.

A deer attractant ban will remain in the following counties in north-central and southeastern Minnesota: Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Hubbard, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Olmsted, Steele, Todd, Wabasha, Wadena and Winona.

Deer attractants can be natural or manufactured and include items containing deer urine, blood, gland oil, feces or other bodily fluid.

“Deer often gather around feed and attractants, and that close contact encourages disease spread,” Barbara Keller, the DNR’s big game program leader, said in the release. “That’s why we’re asking all Minnesotans to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease by following these feeding and attractant bans.”

In counties where deer feeding is banned, people need to remove any grains, fruits, nuts and other food that entices deer. People who feed birds or small mammals need to make sure that deer cannot access the food, keeping feed at least six feet above ground level.

In areas where the attractant ban is also in place, people must remove any liquid food scents, salt, minerals and other natural or manufactured products that attract deer.

Find information on feeding and attractant bans at mndnr.gov/cwd/feedban.html.

Additional CWD information

CWD is an always-fatal neurological disease that affects the cervid family, which includes deer, elk and moose. Since CWD was first detected in a captive elk in Minnesota in 2002, the DNR has tested more than 90,000 wild deer in the state. To date, 79 wild deer have been confirmed positive for CWD in Minnesota. Test results, including locations of confirmed positive test results and statistics, are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck.

Keeping Minnesota’s wild deer population healthy remains the goal in the DNR’s response to chronic wasting disease. The DNR’s full CWD response plan can be found on the DNR website.

For more information on chronic wasting disease, visit mndnr.gov/cwd.

About the Douglas County case

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced on Dec. 10, 2019 that an 8-year-old white-tailed doe tested positive for CWD after its white-tailed buck pen-mate killed it in a small, two-deer, hobbyist herd.

The Douglas County herd was completely depopulated, and the site is not allowed to have any deer or elk for five years. The owner must also maintain fencing to prevent wild deer from accessing the empty pen and post biohazard signs on the fencing for the entire five-year period.