ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Inside Capra’s Sporting Goods in Spring Lake Park, business is brisk. It always is in the days leading up to the annual Minnesota firearms deer season.

“Ah, just getting out there enjoying nature,” hunter George Hible said.

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But with all the understandable enjoyment, comes a growing amount of concern. Chronic Wasting Disease is changing the way Minnesotans approach deer hunting.

“People really have to get into those [DNR] rule books and read them, word for word. Because there are a lot of changes,” Capra’s bow hunting expert, Steve Reither, said.

Hunting regulation booklets will spell out a number of important changes taking effect in 2019. The changes will primarily affect those hunting in the 600 series deer management zones. Those CWD surveillance areas are in Crow Wing County and extreme southeastern Minnesota where wild deer have tested positive for the fatal brain disease.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had to expand our chronic wasting disease management zones,” DNR’s big game program leader, Barbara Keller, said.

Keller says it is mandatory for all deer harvested by hunters from those areas to be tested for CWD. Before the deer carcass can be transported outside the management zone the test must come back negative and safe to move.

Testing station will be set up throughout those areas and staffed by an estimated 300 DNR and University of Minnesota personnel.

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Laboratory testing will be done out in Colorado.

“We’re estimating four to eight business days for the return of those results,” Keller said.

Hunters will be allowed to quarter their deer, leaving behind the parts that are most susceptible to carrying the CWD prions, the head and spine. The DNR is arranging with several waste haulers to manage special dumpsters in which hunters can leave that tissue waste.

In addition, the long standing ban on feeding deer is being expanded to now include a ban on using deer scent attractants in counties around control zones. For hunters, that means even if you are hunting outside control zone 604 in Crow Wing County, you are still not allowed to use scents in adjacent areas.

“Chronic Wasting Disease is spread by deer-to-deer contact. We know of these concentrated food sources or attractants, that contact can be increased. We just want to eliminate as much contact as possible for the transmission of this disease,” Keller said.

Since CWD was first confirmed in Minnesota whitetail deer back in 2002, more than 71,000 deer have been tested. To date, there have been 54 that have tested positive for the disease.

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For more information on CWD, visit the DNR’s website.