MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota officials say mandatory chronic wasting disease testing for deer harvested on opening weekends in certain areas will resume this year.

Any deer 1 year or older harvested during the opening weekends of both firearms seasons — Nov. 6-7 and Nov. 20-21 — from a permit area in a chronic wasting disease zone must be submitted for testing.

“The DNR’s aggressive, risk-based response is based on the best-available science, and hunter-provided samples are a crucial component in helping us monitor the health of our wild deer herd,” wildlife health specialist Erik Hildebrand said.

The Department of Natural Resources said staff will man sampling stations during the mandatory weekends. Self-service sampling stations will also be available.

The DNR said any permit area that was in a CWD zone last year remains the same this year, and several more permit areas have been added to CWD zones. A map of CWD zones and further information about mandatory testing is available on the DNR website.

CWD is a deadly disease in deer and elk that’s caused by prions which damage brain and nerve tissue. It’s transmitted by saliva, feces, urine, and other fluids or tissues — there are no known treatments or vaccines.