MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — University of Minnesota students have traveled across the state to test deer for a lethal disease as deer hunting season reaches its peak.

Minnesota Daily reports that the chronic wasting disease surveillance project is in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. About 80 students participated in the project this month.

Students collected tissue samples from deer as hunters brought the animals into testing stations. Students also recorded information about where the deer was shot. The DNR will use the information to track the disease’s prevalence in the state and identify potential quarantine areas.

Larissa Minicucci is a veterinary professor who coordinated student recruitment for the project. She says chronic wasting disease is similar to mad cow disease and has been spreading in Minnesota’s wild deer population since 2010.

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