Two more deer suspected of being infected with chronic wasting disease have been found near Preston.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued a news release noting they received preliminary results of the positive tests late Friday. Final results confirming the two suspected cases are expected later this week.

The two adult female deer were killed within a mile of the first two positive deer.

The DNR will now consider removing more deer to assess the prevalence of the disease.

DNR wildlife research manager Lou Cornicelli is quoted in the news release, "We won't make any final decisions until after January 15 when the special hunt concludes. But with the discovery of an infected deer 5 miles north of Preston and these two presumptive positive deer, it's prudent that we increase our original surveillance goal of sampling 900 adult deer."

Until now, the only other wild deer with the disease found in Minnesota was harvested near Pine Island in 2010.

The DNR began a series of meetings with landowners to issue deer shooting permits that become effective on Monday, January 16.

A five-county deer feeding ban is in place and an aerial survey to determine deer population and density in the area is complete.

"Our best chance of containing the spread of CWD and hopefully eliminating the disease is to take quick and aggressive action," Cornicelli said. "Asking landowners and hunters to reduce the deer population helps minimize the spread of the disease. Fewer deer means less deer-to-deer contact occurs, lowering the risk of sick deer transmitting CWD to healthy deer."

According to the news release, results of the aerial survey estimate there are 11,600 deer in an area that includes the disease management zone and an area to the north where the third CWD-positive deer was discovered.

Population estimates show a higher density of animals within a 12 square mile radius of the site near Preston where the original CWD positive deer was discovered.

So far the DNR has issued about 115 landowner shooting permits. The permits become effective Monday, January 16, the day after the special hunt concludes. The permits allow landowners and their designees to shoot deer on their property so DNR hopefully can reach its disease sampling goal.

A ban prohibiting the feeding of wild deer in a larger area that includes Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted and Winona counties is in effect. The deer feeding ban makes it illegal to place or have food capable of attracting wild deer. This includes salt/mineral blocks and deer attractants. People who feed birds or small mammals must do so in a manner that precludes access to deer or place the food at least 6 feet above ground level.

More information is available on the DNR"s CWD webpage.

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