MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two special deer hunts are planned for later this month in southeastern Minnesota as part of an effort to curb the spread of chronic wasting disease in the state’s wild deer population.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced the special hunts Tuesday, saying they’ll happen over two weekends: the one right before Christmas (Dec. 21 to Dec. 23) and the one after Christmas (Dec. 28 to Dec. 30).

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The permit areas are 603, 347 and 348, and portions of 343 and 345 south of Interstate 90, the DNR says. For more information on the hunt, including registration and testing requirements, click here.

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(credit: DNR)

The special hunts are an effort to contain chronic wasting disease into a small area. The neurological disease, which is fatal to deer, spreads through an animal’s blood, saliva and feces. It’s more prevalent in Wisconsin.

Officials hope the up-coming December hunts diminishes the deer population, specifically the male population, so as to lessen the risk that it spreads to other parts of Minnesota.

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Since July, eight deer in Minnesota have tested positive for CWD.