Preston, MN (KROC-AM News) - Preliminary test results suggest chronic wasting disease could be spreading in southeastern Minnesota. The State Department of Natural Resources today reported that seven deer harvested by hunters in the Preston area within deer permit area 603 were likely infected by the deadly brain disorder.

Three of the deer were harvested near Preston in an area where 11 deer shot by hunters last year tested positive for CWD. Three other likely infected deer were shot by hunters this year in Forestville-Mystery Cave State Park and one other deer was harvested north of the park near Wyckoff. All three locations are included in permit area 603.

“The DNR wants to thank hunters who submitted samples over opening weekend,” said Jim Leach, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director. “Compliance was very high, suggesting hunters view this as a very important issue.”

DNR officials say test results from deer permit areas adjacent to the 603 zone aren’t available yet and further analysis is needed to determine if the CWD management area should be expanded.

Since the beginning of the archery hunting season in mid-September, hunters have submitted 700 samples for testing in the 603 area. Nearly 500 of those samples were from deer harvested during the first firearms deer hunting season which ended last weekend. The late season begins Saturday and runs through November 26th.

All of the CWD testing results will be posted on the DNR website.

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