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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R)

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Heintzeman calls for action in response to Crow Wing Chronic Wasting Disease case

Friday, February 15, 2019

ST. PAUL – State Representative Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, is calling for swift, cooperative action following Friday’s report that a deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Crow Wing County.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources DNR indicates that this is the first time in Minnesota that CWD – a fatal neurological disease affecting numerous hoofed animals in North America – has been identified in a wild deer outside of southeastern part of the state.

“Today’s news that chronic wasting disease has been discovered in Crow Wing County is very concerning,” said Rep. Heintzeman. “I am planning to meet with the DNR and local officials in the coming days to discuss next steps to prevent the spread of CWD to other herds in the area. It is my hope that with a quick response from state and county officials, in partnership with private land owners, we will be able to stop this disease in its tracks.”

Heintzeman is partnering with the University of Minnesota to introduce legislation to create and fund a new University of Minnesota research project that will work to develop a fast, inexpensive test to determine if a living animal in the area is suffering from CWD. The legislation would also establish a research center at the University to study CWD.

The Crow Wing County deer, an adult female, was found in Merrifield, north of Brainerd, on Jan. 23, by a conservation officer responding to a report of a deceased deer. The DNR tests suspect deer when possible, especially in areas of high risk. Test results confirmed the deer as positive for CWD on Feb. 14.

The DNR began surveillance around a CWD-positive captive cervid facility in Crow Wing County starting in the 2017 hunting season. Over the last two years, the DNR has sampled more than 8,600 deer in this north-central surveillance zone, with no previous detections of CWD-positive deer.