Crow Wing County is accepting deer carcasses free of charge for the second consecutive year at the county landfill on Highway 210 in Brainerd with the goal of minimizing the spread of chronic wasting disease.

“Instead of passing the buck to somebody else, the county initiated a process to burn all deer carcasses in our area. What we do with deer carcasses that may be infected is an important first step in containing the spread,” County Commissioner Doug Houge stated in a news release.

The neurological disease affects deer, elk, moose, reindeer and caribou. It causes a spongy degeneration in the brain of an infected animal, which results in their death. Defective proteins from an infected animal are spread through deposits of saliva or other bodily fluids.

“Deer hunting is very important to people here in Crow Wing County. Not only are people putting food on the table for their families, hunters really help our local businesses,” Houge stated.

There has been only one confirmed case of chronic wasting disease in the wild deer population in the county.

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“Even if we cannot eradicate it from Crow Wing County, it’s still important that we contain it to the very best of our ability and that is what we’re going to do,” County Commissioner Paul Koering stated in the release.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has tested 3,961 deer in the region since July 2019, and none of them had the disease, according to county officials.

“I believe our efforts are helping with those results,” Koering stated.

Ryan Simonson, a county environmental services supervisor, asked that carcasses not be thrown into the regular household garbage.

“Deer carcasses may be incinerated or placed in strategic locations within the landfill to minimize disposal risk, so it is very important that carcasses are brought in separately from other garbage,” Simonson stated.

For more information about chronic wasting disease, visit dnr.state.mn.us/cwd/index.html.