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Deer feeding ban begins Monday in Willmar area

Submitted A deer feeding ban goes into effect in the shaded areas above on Monday.

ST. PAUL — A deer feeding ban goes into effect Monday for all or portions of 11 Minnesota counties, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced.

In central Minnesota, the ban includes Stearns, Kandiyohi, Wright, Meeker, McLeod and the portion of Renville County north of U.S. Highway 212.

A ban already is in effect for the five southeastern Minnesota counties adjoining deer permit area 603, the only area in Minnesota where chronic wasting disease is known to exist in wild deer. Southeastern counties in the ban are Olmsted, Winona, Mower, Fillmore and Houston.

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

North central counties in the ban include Crow Wing, Aitkin, 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.

Wild deer in the central and north central Minnesota are not known to have chronic wasting disease. The feeding ban as well as mandatory testing this fall are precautionary steps DNR took after captive deer infected with the disease were found on farms in Crow Wing and Meeker counties.

According to the DNR, feed is defined as salt, minerals, grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, hay and other food that is capable of attracting or enticing deer.

Attractants banned in the southeast may be used in the other counties affected by the feeding ban.

Feeding bans encompass wider areas because the potential extent of a possible infection is not known and one of the most probable mechanisms for spread of chronic wasting disease among deer is over a food source that concentrates animals and allows close contact.

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

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.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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