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Deer shot in Grand Rapids was positive for chronic wasting disease

One of 54 deer shot by sharpshooters carried the disease.

Deer
A small buck running. One of 54 deer shot by sharpshooters in Grand Rapids in recent weeks tested positive for CWD.
File / Duluth News Tribune

GRAND RAPIDS, Minnesota — One of the 54 deer shot by sharpshooters in recent weeks did indeed test positive for chronic wasting disease, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirmed this week.

The News Tribune reported last week that the deer was suspected to be carrying the always fatal disease. The other 53 deer shot, and several car-killed deer collected, all tested negative.

The culling and testing effort came after a car-killed deer that was tested in March came back positive for CWD.

With two wild deer within the city now confirmed to have carried the disease, DNR officials are mulling their response. The deer are the first in Northeastern Minnesota to test positive for CWD, a neurological disease that kills deer, moose, caribou and elk and is spreading rapidly across the nation.

Feeding and baiting of deer will remain illegal in the Grand Rapids area in an effort to keep deer farther apart and lessen the chances of spreading. A city deer hunt also will likely continue to cull more deer and reduce deer densities. The DNR also will require all deer shot by hunters next fall to be tested for CWD in an effort to see how widespread the problem is.

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It remains undecided if special hunts or additional curling will occur. The DNR will continue to test for CWD among deer collected from vehicle accidents.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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