Tuesday, April 01, 2008

MINNESOTA NEWS: Emergency Bovine TB Rule Targets Deer, No Permit Required

Landowners, tenants and their designated agents can shoot deer without a permit in an expanded area surrounding where bovine tuberculosis (TB) has been found in cattle or deer in northwestern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Sharpshooters will also be used as part of an overall strategy to significantly reduce deer population density in and around the bovine TB management zone.

An emergency rule effective March 31 and continuing through Aug. 31 allows landowners, tenants and their agents designated in writing to take deer on their property with a firearm, bow or muzzleloader at any time.

The new landowner/tenant zone comprises a 934-square mile area of portions of Beltrami, Marshall, Roseau and Lake of the Woods counties. The area includes deer permit area 101 and an expanded area north to the Canadian border. The expanded area is bounded on the west by state highways 89 and 310 and on the east by the Thompson Forest Road, County Road 5 and state highways 11 and 313. Details, including a map of the area and the specific rule restrictions, are available from area DNR offices or on the DNR Web site at mndnr.gov/bovinetb.

"Implementing this emergency rule is another tool to help get ahead of this disease and ensure it doesn't persist in Minnesota's deer population," said Paul Telander, regional wildlife manager in northwestern Minnesota.

Provisions of the emergency landowner/tenant shooting rule allow deer of any age or sex to be taken without limit or license provided that before transporting the deer, landowners and tenants tag each deer taken with their name; the township, range, and section where the kill took place; and the date of the kill.

All deer must be field dressed at the time of the kill and carcasses - or heads if deer are retained in possession - must be taken to the Wannaska Forestry Office, Grygla Forestry Office, Thief Lake Wildlife Office, Olson's Skime Store or DJ's Salol Store within 48 hours of the kill so they can be tested. Possession tags are required for all deer retained in possession. Tags for both possession and transport will be available at drop-off points.

As the weather warms and deer carcass salvage becomes more difficult, a refrigerated truck will be stationed at Olson's Skime Store. Landowners and tenants are encouraged to

promptly bring deer to this station to help preserve as many carcasses as possible.

The emergency rule was enacted as part of an overall strategy that also includes expanded and special hunts as well as contracting with U.S. Department of Agriculture sharpshooters. Sharpshooters have taken 351 deer as of March 27.

During the first two weeks of April, the DNR will hire an aircraft to supplement sharpshooting efforts, Telander said, resulting in the closure of all wildlife management area lands within the TB management zone (deer permit area 101). WMAs scheduled to be closed include Golden Valley, Grygla, Hayes, Marbel, Mickinock, Moose River, Palmville, Wannaska, Wapiti, and portions of Reed Lake and Thief Lake. The following state forest roads will be signed closed beginning Monday morning: Morehouse, Stotts, Winner, Neheim, Penturen, Summer, North Moose River Dike, Moose River West, Moose River East, Luxemberger, Highwood East and West, Tofte,Palsberg, Black's Winner, Root, Mortenson, River Road (east of the private cabins), Thompson.

Permits allowing landowners to shoot deer have been available since March 18. To date, 50 permits have been issued and 33 deer taken. The new emergency rule replaces the permitting process, Telander said. Samples also have been obtained from three elk.

DNR officials tested more than 1,100 hunter-harvested deer for bovine TB in 2007. They discovered four infected animals, bringing the total number of infected deer to 17 since surveillance efforts began in 2005. Telander said sharpshooters and landowners have taken 384 deer so far in 2008. Two of those deer, all adults taken within the 164-square mile core area, showed signs of potential TB but lab tests are required to determine whether any infection is present.

"We need to keep the pressure on deer within this small area to reduce the risk of this disease becoming established in the deer population," Telander said. "The prevalence of the disease in wild deer remains low and is restricted to a small geographic region."

Source: http://www.crookstontimes.com/articles/2008/04/01/news/26news3.txt

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