As part of ongoing efforts to eradicate bovine tuberculosis in the state, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources contractors will conduct aerial deer removal operations starting on Monday, March 16. Aerial sharpshooters will work within the bovine TB core area in northwestern Minnesota for about two weeks.
An aerial survey in January resulted in an estimate of about 660 deer in the core area, down about 18% from 2008.
All wildlife management areas (WMAs), state forest roads, and recreational trails within deer permit area (DPA) 101 will be temporarily closed to ensure public safety during the operation.
WMAs to be closed are Golden Valley, Grygla, Hayes, Marbel, Mickinock, Moose River, Skime, Wannaska, Wapiti, portions of Palmville, Red Lake and Thief Lake.
Recreational trails to be closed: All trails within DPA 101. State forest roads to be closed are Blacks Winner (beginning at Palsburg junction). Morehouse, Neheim, Penturen, North Moose River Dike, River Road (beginning at Thomson Rd junction), Snow, Stotts, Summer, West Moose River and Winner.
WMAs, roads and trails will be signed and closed beginning March 16 and will be reopened as soon as safety permits. Flights will begin in the northern portion of the TB core area, where forest road closures are involved, so that roads can be reopened as quickly as possible.
A limited number of motorized road use passes will be issued to residents and cabin owners affected by the road closures. Permits may be obtained from the DNR at the Warroad Area Forestry office, 804 Cherne Dr. NW, Warroad, or the Wannaska workstation, 16945 St. Hwy 89, Wannaska.
Contracted aircraft and sharpshooters, with DNR ground support, will conduct the deer removal operation, which is part of Minnesota’s ongoing bovine TB eradication efforts. The aerial operation is intended to supplement sharpshooting efforts that have been taking place on the ground since late February.
Sharpshooting is only being conducted on public lands and on private lands where the landowner has given permission.
People interested in obtaining field-dressed venison that show no signs of infection must place their name on a waiting list by contacting Thief Lake Wildlife Management office at 218-222-3747.
For more on DNR’s TB eradication efforts go to www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer/tb.
For more on the Minnesota Board of Animal Health’s overall coordination of the state bovine TB response, go to www.bah.state.mn.us/tb.