Tuesday, March 27, 2007

MINNESOTA NEWS: Followup--Deer Cull Continues in Bovine TB Area

Federal sharpshooters have killed 366 deer in northwestern Minnesota, including 125 last week, as part of an ongoing attempt to reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis in the wild deer herd and domestic cattle herds there.

The culling action began in February in a 135-square-mile area and will conclude this week, said Michelle Powell, Department of Natural Resources wildlife health program coordinator.
The final tally likely will be around 400 deer, she said.

Bovine TB has been found in seven cattle herds and two wild deer in the area, prompting officials to try to reduce the deer herd there. So far, of the deer killed by sharpshooters, three have shown signs of having bovine TB, Powell said. Those animals are undergoing further tests.

Powell said she can't determine how successful the culling effort was until fall, when deer killed by hunters in the area will be tested for signs of bovine TB. All the deer, except for those that appeared to be diseased, have been given to people to utilize the venison.

"We've had no problem giving away the venison," she said. "We have a ton of people on a waiting list." The DNR will encourage hunters to reduce the deer population in that area through special permits and bonus tags this fall, Powell said.

source: http://www.startribune.com/531/story/1076218.html

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