ST. PAUL (AP) -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has collected about a third of the more than 5,000 samples needed for a study to determine if the state's deer population is infected with chronic wasting disease.
Results of deer collected from hunters won't be available until December. Hunters who participate in the testing program will be notified by mail about the samples they submitted, said Dennis Stauffer, DNR communications director.
So far, three of the 16 registration sites selected for the study have met their sample quota, he said. Hunters have been randomly chosen at the sites to provide deer samples and the hunters have cooperated well, Stauffer said.
State officials are confident that they will have enough samples to meet the study's goal by the time the season closes.
Though no deer in Minnesota is known to have been infected with CWD, concerns were raised in August when a captive elk in Aitkin County was found to have the disease and died.
Still, experts say the chances of a Minnesotan dying from eating meat from a CWD-infected deer are small.
Hunters who aren't part of the random study but who want their deer tested for CWD can visit one of more than 150 veterinarians across the state who are collecting brain stem samples for testing.
The cost of testing, which ranges from $55 to $85 per deer, may have deterred some hunters, said Dr. Nathan Mannix, a veterinarian with Cascade Animal Medical Center in Rochester.
He said that interest also waned when hunters found out how long they would have to wait to get results.
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