Wildlife officials will be checking this hunting season for chronic wasting disease among deer in a pocket of southeastern Minnesota.
The area is near Pine Island, just north of Rochester, where captive elk infected with the disease were discovered in 2009.
Officials with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be asking for lymph node samples at deer registration stations to ensure no wild deer has been infected.
David Pauly, regional coordinator with the DNR, said testing is important, even though chronic wasting disease has not been found in wild deer in Minnesota so far.
"It's extremely important for us as an agency, and to our hunter clientele that we keep track of and monitor white tail deer herd health in Minnesota," Pauly said. "So that we know if there are diseases out there that could potentially impact deer populations."
More than 32,000 deer have been tested statewide since the disease was detected in Wisconsin in 2002. Last year, test results on nearly 3,000 deer were negative.
Pauly said he expects a good turnout from hunters.
"We had very good participation last year in southeast Minnesota, so I expect we'll see the same kind of willingness of deer hunters' parts when they register deer to allow us to collect samples," he said.
The Centers for Disease Control says there's no link between CWD and any neurological disease in humans.
The DNR will be staffing registration stations during four weekends in November. The locations include:
Red Wing - Four Seasons Sports
Lake City - Big Bear
Millville - Becklund's Auto
Rochester - Gander Mountain
Rochester - Archery Headquarters
Pine Island - Greenway Coop
Zumbrota - Pellicci Ace Hardware
Kenyon - Kenyon Meats
Mantorville - Casey's General Store)