September 30, 2013 at 8:55 pm #492MikeKeymaster
By Mike McFeely, The Forum
Published Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Early indications are that the deaths of 13 deer in northeast Otter
Tail County don’t appear to be linked to chronic wasting disease, a
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources spokesman said.
The DNR received a report last week from two landowners southwest of
Menahga that 12 deer had died in a concentrated area, said DNR
regional wildlife supervisor John Breyen of Bemidji. Those deer had
decomposed too badly to be tested for a cause of death, but one more
deer died and the DNR removed its head and sent it to the University
of Minnesota to be tested for CWD.
The landowners who contacted the DNR about the deer said the animals
had been emaciated before they died.
But Breyen said a couple of factors lead him to preliminarily believe
that the deer did not have CWD, an infectious disease that attacks
the brains of deer and elk.
While the deer were anemic, which can be one sign of CWD, they also
exhibited other signs not consistent with the disease such as black,
runny droppings, Breyen said. Also, all the deer were found in a
small area, which would not necessarily be consistent with CWD,
Because the deer all died in such a limited area, Breyen theorized
they could have eaten some tainted food such as moldy corn.
“It was a very, very isolated area,” Breyen said. “That leads us to
believe it was something they got into.”
The DNR will collect more deer from the area for testing, Breyen
said. DNR personnel from Detroit Lakes and Park Rapids were in the
area Tuesday night hoping to shoot some animals and several
landowners have been authorized to do the same. Breyen said the DNR
would like to collect five deer, but two or three would be sufficient.
Those deer’s entire carcasses will be sent to the University of
Minnesota for necropsies.
CWD has been at the forefront of DNR testing efforts for the past
couple of years, ever since the disease was found in a single captive
elk on a farm near Aitkin. The disease has never been found in the
state’s wild deer population.
Last fall, the DNR tested nearly 10,000 deer harvested by hunters. No
positive tests were found. The test sample included 328 deer taken
from hunting Zone 411, which is adjacent to the area in Otter Tail
County in which the 13 dead deer were found.
Typical signs of CWD include drooping head or ears, poor body
condition, tremors, stumbling, increased salivation, difficulty
swallowing or excessive thirst or urination, according to the DNR Web
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