A third deer infected with chronic wasting disease has been discovered in southeastern Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources.  

Mule deer/ National Park Service
Mule deer/ National Park Service

A hunter harvested the deer in mid-November about 5 miles north of the two previously reported infected deer, which were killed about 4 miles west of Lanesboro. An area taxidermist later provided a sample for testing to the DNR.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. Prior to the recent discovery near Lanesboro, the only other wild deer with the disease found in Minnesota was harvested near Pine Island in 2010.

The discovery will not change the current boundaries of the disease management zone, which is designated deer permit area 603. A special hunt begins Saturday, Dec. 31, in the permit area and concludes Sunday, Jan. 15.

Resident and nonresident hunters and landowners can use any unfilled Minnesota deer license during the special hunt. Permits for those who don’t have unfilled licenses are available from any DNR license agent for $2.50.

“We strongly encourage landowners to participate in the special hunt that begins Dec. 31,” said Dr. Lou Cornicelli, the DNR’s wildlife research manager. “When the landowner shooting program begins Jan. 16, they’ll be allowed to take additional deer.”

This latest case will affect the disease control zone for farmed deer and elk. “The Minnesota Board of Animal Health regulates farmed deer and elk in the state and has created a 10-mile disease control zone around this latest positive case,” said Dr. Paul Anderson of the Board of Animal Health. “There is one additional deer farm within the new zone and movement restrictions have been placed on the herd. These restrictions can be removed if double fencing is constructed on the farm.”