Firearms deer hunting season starts Saturday, November 4th. But before hunters can take home their prize, they must have it tested for chronic wasting disease.

The 2016 hunting season was voluntary testing, but for the 2017 season testing has become mandatory.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disease that affects moose, caribou, and deer. A deer can be infected and not show symptoms for two years, but as soon as symptoms hit they get disoriented and waste away. It was discovered in southeast Minnesota last fall with currently 11 positives.

The disease spreads through any bodily fluid and is resistant to disinfectants and heat. That means once it is in the environment, there is no known way to get it out.

Hunters must harvest the deer before registering it either online or over the phone. The sample is then shipped off to Colorado for testing.

Hunters can check their results online. No deer can leave its zone until after the test result of "not detected" is returned to DNR officials.

The disease is new to Minnesota but has been around Colorado and Wyoming for decades. The DNR said they are now seeing positive cases pop up in southeastern Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin, and northern Iowa.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that hunters not eat deer with CWD. However, no evidence has shown that the disease can jump the species barrier from deer to human.

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