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Outdoor Notes for Sept. 2

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Deer feeding ban continues in 11 central and north-central Minnesota counties

A deer feeding ban is in place until at least 2019 for 11 central and north-central Minnesota counties surrounding two facilities where multiple captive deer were infected with chronic wasting disease.

"Feeding bans in central and north-central Minnesota are precautionary and part of our overall strategy to limit CWD, if it exists in wild populations," said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said in a news release. "Wild deer in these areas are not known to have CWD. These feeding bans are a proactive step to keep CWD at bay."

In 2017, the DNR completed the first of three years of surveillance in these areas and no disease was found.

Central Minnesota counties affected by the ban are Kandiyohi; McCloud; Meeker; Stearns; Wright; and the portion of Renville County north of U.S. Highway 212.

North-central Minnesota counties affected are Aitkin; Crow Wing; Morrison; the portion of Cass County south of Minnesota highways 34 and 200; and the portion of Mille Lacs County north of County Road 11.

Attractants are not prohibited in the central and north-central counties.

In Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted, Mower, Wabasha and Winona counties, a ban on both deer feeding and use of attractants has been in place since 2017 and will continue for the foreseeable future. Wabasha County was added this year because CWD was detected in captive deer in Winona County.

"People should know that feed is not just a pile of corn or grain," Cornicelli said. "It includes salt and mineral blocks that many hunters use as well as fruits, vegetables, nuts, hay and other food that is capable of attracting or enticing deer."

One of the most probable mechanisms for CWD spread among deer is over a food or attractant source that concentrates animals. Feeding bans are intended to reduce the number of areas where deer can come into close contact, either directly or indirectly.

The feeding ban in southeastern Minnesota also includes attractants such as deer urine, blood, gland oil, feces or other bodily fluids. These products include such things as bottled estrus and mock scrape drips.

People who feed birds or small mammals must do so in a manner that prevents access by deer or place the food at least 6 feet above the ground.

Food placed as a result of normal agricultural practices is generally exempted from the feeding ban. Cattle operators should take steps that minimize contact between deer and cattle.

"Not feeding deer is a simple step that anyone can take to help prevent the spread of disease," Cornicelli said. "Although well-intentioned, feeding wildlife often does more harm than good."

Mandatory precautionary CWD testing will be done over opening weekend of the firearm season in portions of the feeding ban areas to determine whether the disease may have spread from captive to wild deer. This year, the DNR has narrowed the surveillance area and more information can be found on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd.

Lothspeich leads on Pelican

Dennis Lothspeich claimed victory in the Baxter Bass Snatchers' fourth tournament Aug. 25 on Pelican Lake.

Lothspeich led the field with a total catch of 19 pounds, 2 ounces. Placing second was Beau Bacon with a total catch of 18 pounds, 6 ounces. Coming in third was Darren Keifer with a total catch of 18 pounds, 2 ounces. The Lunker Award went to Chuck Steinbauer, who caught a 4 pound, 8 ounce bass.

For the tournament, 21 anglers caught and released 92 bass.

Hackers top leader board on Pelican

With a total catch of 10 pounds, 8 ounces, Kevin and Lucas Hacker took first place in the recent Northern's Inc. fishing tournament held on Pelican Lake.

Organizers said conditions on the lake were tough and the fishing weren't cooperating.

Coming in second was the team of Andrew Utter and Jake Rick, with a total catch of 4 pounds, 12 ounces. In third place was the team of Luther Wallin and Randall Clark with a total catch of 3 pounds, 6 ounces; in fourth was the team of Rod Barnum and Craig Klimek with a total catch of 3 pounds, 2 ounces; and in fifth was the team of Ron and Rhonda Wickham with a total catch of 2 pounds, 3 ounces.

The Lunker of the Day was a 5 pound, 10 ounce northern pike caught by Kevin Hacker.

Third annual 'Secchi Social' Sept. 27 at Leech Lake

The third annual "Secchi Social" for citizen water quality monitors will be Sept. 27 at Chase on the Lake, Walker. The event gathers volunteer monitors to network and hear presentations by local water resource professionals about water quality protection efforts in the region. Citizen Monitoring Program volunteers will share their thoughts and perspectives on monitoring. Volunteer speakers are encouraged to contact the MPCA. There will be recognition of five-year "Milestone" volunteers in attendance, raffle prizes and a catered lunch. Coffee and registration is 10-11 a.m. and the lunch and program is 11 a.m.-2 p.m. A block of rooms has been reserved for the night of Sept. 26. An online RSVP form is due Friday, Sept. 14, or call Laurie Sovell at 651-757-2750 or Shannon Martin at 651-757-2874 with your attendance information. There is no cost, and each volunteer can have one additional guest attend. You only need to RSVP if you plan on attending.

Surplus permits available for Camp Ripley archery hunts

Hunters who missed the lottery deadline for the Camp Ripley archery hunt can purchase surplus permits on a first-come first-served basis beginning noon on Friday, Sept. 14, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Hunters who already received a permit will not be allowed to purchase a surplus permit.

CWD tests mandatory for deer harvested in central, north-central and southeast

Precautionary testing during the first two days of firearms deer season will determine whether chronic wasting disease may have spread from captive deer to wild deer in central and north-central Minnesota.

"Wild deer are not known to have CWD in these areas, and this is the second year of surveillance there," said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "Mandatory testing of wild deer that hunters harvest is a proactive and preventative measure to protect Minnesota's wild deer populations."

During opening weekend of the 2017 firearms season, 10,500 deer were tested and the disease was not detected. Because so many deer were sampled last year, the DNR is reducing the size of the surveillance area this year.

Central Minnesota deer permit areas with mandatory testing are 277 and 283 east of Highway 4; 219 south of Highway 55; and 285 north of Highway 7. Hunters who kill a deer in one of these permit areas but outside the surveillance zone do not need to submit the deer for testing.

In the Brainerd area, deer permit areas with mandatory testing are 242 and 247.

All hunters in affected deer permit areas will be required to have their deer tested on Saturday, Nov. 3, or Sunday, Nov. 4. After field dressing their deer, hunters must take them to a sampling station. DNR staff will remove lymph nodes, which will be submitted for laboratory testing.

Hunters must register their deer by phone, internet or in person. Harvest registration will not be available at CWD sampling stations.

Testing in north-central and central Minnesota became necessary after CWD was found in multiple captive deer near Merrifield in Crow Wing County and Litchfield in Meeker County. Test results will determine whether CWD may have been passed from these captive deer to wild deer.

Deer harvested in southeastern Minnesota's permit areas 255, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349 are subject to mandatory testing on Nov. 3-4 and Nov. 17-18 because of their proximity to CWD-infected wild deer in permit area 603, a captive deer facility in Winona County found positive, and additional positive deer in Wisconsin and Iowa. Deer permit area 603 has mandatory surveillance throughout all deer seasons. Hunters should consult the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd for more complete information.

Proactive surveillance and precautionary testing for disease is a proven strategy that allows the DNR to manage CWD by finding it early and reacting quickly and aggressively to control it. These actions, which were taken in 2005 to successfully combat bovine tuberculosis in northwestern Minnesota deer and in 2010 to eliminate a CWD infection in wild deer near Pine Island, provide the best opportunity to eliminate disease spread.

"Without precautionary testing, early detection would not be possible," Cornicelli said. "Without early detection, there's nothing to stop CWD from becoming established at a relatively high prevalence and across a large geographic area. At that point, there is no known way to control it once established."

Additional details on mandatory testing will be released throughout the fall as firearms deer season approaches. Complete information about mandatory CWD testing this fall, sampling station locations and a related precautionary feeding ban are available now on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd.

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