I hope not.
In 2016 the MN DNR emptied our deer feeding/disease account spending $600,000 on CWD testing in SE Minnesota.
Only deer in zone 3 were tested.
They did not test the ‘high risk’ animals that are hit by cars or found dead. Our state agencies did pick lots of these higher risk deer and dump them on public lands, a known way to spread CWD.
We did ban carcass imports, but we did not request any help from other agencies or spend any cash to enforce the carcass ban. We did not spend the $400 per week to rent blinking road signs or similar to let hunters know there was a carcass ban. Dirty carcasses from states east, west, and south of us rolled across state lines to be dumped in the woods, a known way to spread CWD. Hunter or agency dumped CWD infected carcasses were announced by a USDA investigator as the likely cause of the new positives in SE Minnesota.
The DNR did a nice job of generating an irrational fear of CWD with their PR campaign. They even got the states press to print stories with bad information about CWD, and have been spreading undocumented information about CWD’s affect on other states deer herds. Maybe its all just a play for more money. MDHA started years back as a group to feed deer in harsh winters. Now all that money is used for CWD testing and sharpshooters.
Wisconsin has spent $55 million on CWD. They could not eliminate the disease. Hunter reaction to failed a plan with sharpshooters and herd reduction had them drift to a more passive approach. Deer hunting in CWD hot spots of southern Wisconsin is often better now than in 2002 when the disease was first detected. Deer land is fetching $5,000 per acre in many of the CWD hot zones.
Illinois has employed sharpshooters since 2002, and their prevalence rates and number of affected counties continues to grow.
For 2017 the MN DNR is requesting $1.5 million for CWD testing and sharpshooting. They will find more CWD. The $600,000 we threw at the ‘spark’ and SE Minnesota will not contain the disease. No state has ever beat back CWD when multiple wild positives are found. CWD is here and it will be affecting more and more counties in Minnesota. Its spreading all across the country, and our plans bucket is full of holes that may never be plugged.
Testing and sharpshooting has proven extremely unpopular with the hunting public. It has also solved nothing in the states that have tried it. Aggressive CWD plans erode the hunter experience, and they have not been shown to slow the geographic spread of the disease. Will history repeat here in Minnesota- or will we learn form what other states have already experienced?