Nearly a half-million hunters are expected to take part in this weekend's firearms deer season. All deer taken in parts of southeastern Minnesota, Crow Wing and Meeker counties must be taken to one of 31 sites for chronic wasting disease testing (CWD). The D-N-R's Michelle Carstensen says testing since the start of the archery season detected only a few cases of C-W-D, but "we need to get through the firearm opener to really have a good sense of a larger surveillance effort." She says a lot more deer will be tested and "we'll see where we're at once those results come back." The Minnesota Governor's Deer Hunting Opener is in the Fergus Falls area.
Minnesota wildlife researchers will be collecting deer spleens this weekend during the opening of the firearms deer season. DNR researchers are hoping to harvest at least 800 of the organs from whitetail deer killed by hunters for a study that examines the effects of neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids, which are insecticides heavily used in Minnesota-grown corn and soybeans, face mounting scrutiny for their unintended effects on wildlife that include honeybees, birds and fish. The researchers seek to determine whether those insecticides are harming Minnesota's deer since research shows the chemicals could be doing damage in the Dakotas.