Minnesota DNR to continue testing deer for bovine TB in 2012
This week's announcement that Minnesota's cattle herds have regained their bovine tuberculosis-free accreditation is good news for the industry, but the Department of Natural Resources will continue to test deer in the northwest part of the state...
This week's announcement that Minnesota's cattle herds have regained their bovine tuberculosis-free accreditation is good news for the industry, but the Department of Natural Resources will continue to test deer in the northwest part of the state for at least one more year.
According to Dr. Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program coordinator for the DNR, the agency has funding to test deer in the area near Skime, Minn., again in 2012.
Sharpshooting isn't part of the plan, though, Carstensen said, and the DNR will rely on hunters to submit deer for further sampling efforts.
"Not happening," Carstensen said of sharpshooting. "It's not something we're considering."
Carstensen said the DNR this fall collected 561 samples from deer taken by hunters in and surrounding the TB Management Zone, an area of about 600 square miles surrounding Skime. There were no obvious cases of TB in any of the deer sampled, Carstensen said, but full lab culture results won't be available until sometime in February.
"Last year was our first year of zero positives in the local deer herd," Carstensen said. "We hope that this fall will be our second consecutive year."
A contagious respiratory disease, bovine TB first was found in a handful of cattle herds near Skime in July 2005. Since then, more than 800,000 cattle have been tested for the disease, and 58 herds -- ranging from 25 to 550 animals -- have been destroyed.
Carstensen said she expects restrictions on cattle within the TB Management Zone to remain in effect at least through next year, as the DNR continues to build confidence that the deer herd no longer is infected.
"Beyond 2012, I can't say for certain right now what our plans might be," Carstensen said."
The DNR has sampled about 14,000 deer since sampling began in 2005 and 27 tested positive for the disease. All of the TB-positive cases came within about 10 miles of Skime, Carstensen said.
This story includes information from Don Davis of Forum Communications' Minnesota State Capitol Bureau.
Dokken reports on outdoors. Reach him at (701) 780-1148; (800) 477-6572, ext. 148; or email firstname.lastname@example.org .