PINE ISLAND, Minn. (KTTC) -- With firearms deer season kicking off in the region Saturday, so did the Chronic Wasting Disease testing posts.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resource crews were on standby in the Pine Island area Sunday afternoon.
"We had about 55 animals that we collected lymph node samples from today," said Hunter Harvest Surveyor Dave Pauly. "And another ten or twelve fawns that weren't old enough to take samples from."
Pauly and four others were one of five stations handling the CWD testing for the Pine Island area known as area 602.
"One of the main things is we want to see, if a deer tests positive, we want to see where that deer came from," said DNR Contractor Kyle Arola. "So we have each hunter come and point out exactly where they harvested that particular deer."
One single deer in 2010 tested positive for the neurological disease. Although no contaminated deer had been found since, the zone will continue to be tested this year and next. Pauly said it's just for reassurance "just to make absolutely certain that we know what's going on in terms of prevalence in the wild deer herd."
Coming from Mazeppa, 12 year old Michael Downes and his father turned up to turn in his basket-rack six-point buck. He recalled the hunt. "It came from the left and I was on the right side. So I kind of leaned out of the stand and I shot. I hit it. It was walking through the woods and it dropped in there."
Other big bucks were being registered as well. Which prompted the question, how does the testing crew remove the lymph nodes in the neck without ruining a wall mount?
"We have trained taxidermists in and around [area] 602 to be able to collect the lymph nodes if that's what the hunter wants to do," explained Pauly. "And then we can get the lymph nodes from the taxidermist."
There's a three day turnaround time for the test results.
Other hunting areas being tested besides 602 are areas 183, 159, and 225 in east central Minnesota.
Those three are set up as a precaution because of a positive CWD case found in Shell Lake Wisconsin last year.