CWD suspected in a wild deer in the Bemidji

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Preliminary test results show Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been identified in a wild, white-tailed deer in the Bemidji area. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR,) the adult male was harvested on opening weekend of the firearms season about 10 miles south of Bemidji in permit area 184.

DNR officials say the preliminary test results strongly indicate a CWD infection, however additional analysis will be needed to confirm the results. The DNR says those findings could be expected later this week.

“While disappointing, this find is not completely unexpected,” Kelly Straka, wildlife section manager for the DNR said in a press release. “We’re announcing this preliminary CWD positive result to encourage hunters in the Bemidji area to have their deer tested.”

The DNR has made self-service sampling stations available in deer permit area 184.

If the preliminary positive is confirmed, the DNR will take additional management actions per the agency’s CWD response plan, which may include late special season hunting and targeted culling.

According to the release from the Minnesota DNR, sampling of harvested deer in deer permit area 184 was mandatory on opening weekend. The DNR says over 1,200 deer have been sampled in that area and test results for approximately 700 deer have been received so far this fall. One deer came back with a preliminarily positive test for the disease. Preliminary test results from the remainder of the sampled deer are expected this week.

Information on self-service sampling locations in the Bemidji area will be available on the DNR website ( or by calling the DNR’s Information Center at 888-646-6367.

CWD remains relatively rare in Minnesota but is a concern because the disease is easily transmissible to the herd and always fatal. It is found globally and in about half of the states in the U.S. Complete information about CWD is available on the DNR website (